Palm Moth

A new discovery this evening: a Palm Moth! The palm moth, also known as Paysandisia archon, are not native to Europe! They were accidentally introduced to Europe from Uruguay and central Argentina on Batia yatay and Trithrinax campestris plants which were imported from Argentina between 1992 and 1998. The palm moth feeds on many different species of palm, as its name suggests. An adult moth it’s wingspan is between 9 and 11 cm. Females are usually slightly bigger than males and lay eggs of around 5 mm long and are cream coloured. Soon after they have mated the females can start laying eggs. They usually lay them in small groups of around 2 to 3 eggs. However, they can lay many batches, leading to up to 150 eggs per female. Males often use a single perch to land and stay on, if they are not flying around their small territories to protect the females from rivals. Once the eggs have been laid they spend a few weeks as eggs before turning into larvae. They stay as larvae for quite a long time. Depending on the sub-species, it can be between a bit less than a year to just under 2 years. Then they spend between 5 and 21 days in their redish cocoon form, before emerging as a beautiful Palm Moth. Regardless of the fact that it is invasive and not native to my area, it is a very beautiful and peaceful moth! Not much information is known about these moths, so please send me any observations or information you know about. I would really like to know more about these beautiful moths!

Nika Strok Underwood

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