Actias selene, also known as the Indian moon moth, is among the largest (if not already the largest) from the genus Actias. These beautiful moths are populair for their appearance and size and are relatively easy to rear.
- Difficulty rating: 5/10 (Not the easiest but not hard)
- Host plants: Liquidambar, Prunus, Rhododendron, Quercus, Malus, Pyrus, Rhus, Salix, Juglans
- Natural range: India, Pakistan, China, Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan and more
- Polyphagous: yes
- Generations: Multivoltine (continuously brooded)
- Family: Saturniidae (silkmoths)
- Pupation: Cocoon (silk encasing)
- Prefered climate: Tropical (prefers warm and humid)
- Special notes: This species has a lot of subspecies and can show a lot of variation depending on their origin. Some of their older subspecies (such as ssp. ningpoana) are now elevated to full species status
- Wingspan: 130 – 170mm (the biggest in the genus Actias)
Actias selene is a moth with quite a large range – mainly originating from Asia (including Indonesia, Japan, eastern Asia in general). Notable are the different subspecies in captivity that differ in appearance, size and host plants. This specie has a wide range of known host plants – most notably Rhododendron, different specie of Cherrry (Prunus sp.) among which sweet cherry (Prunus avium), laurel cherry (Prunus laurocerasus, Prunus lusitanica), peach (Prunus persica) and many more – experimenting could be worthwhile. They also accept related fruit trees such as apple (Malus sp.) and pear (Pyrus sp.). Willow (Salix) and hawthorn (Crataegus) have also been reported as suitable hosts.
The caterpillars when born start out as tiny red caterpillars with a red stripe. In the second instar they will be completely red, until they will grow to be green in the final instars. The caterpillars grow quite large and are bright lime-green and decorated with spiky yellow tubercules. The cocoons are quite though and have brown silk. The pupal stage takes about 4 to 5 weeks. Usually there is no diapause, although they are indeed able to diapause when stored in cold conditions.
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