The return of the titans
Do you remember yesterday’s blog with a photograph of a female atlas moth (Attacus atlas)? Well, at 13.00 yesterday I saw her mating with a smaller gentleman. She was still sitting on her cocoon in the avocado tree. Why would she leave? The males have impressive antennae to detect the pheromones emitted by the females. Like with humans, a pretty lady just has to sit and wait.
They were still copulating at 22.30 later in the evening. The grey structure to the right of the brown leaf is the old cocoon. The male with his impressive antennae is here seen near the camera, the female is on the other side.
I turned out all lights at Dokmai Garden so we did not tempt her to sit under a lamp and get eaten by a gecko. Her important mission is to lay her precious eggs.
Also, I wish to emphasize these are in situ pictures of wild moths. They have not been reared or manipulated for this photograph. As long as you do not dip your garden in pesticides this is a fairly common sight here in Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand.
Text and photo: Eric Danell