It's that time of year again, when Emperor Moths emerge from their cocoons, and ours have been doing just that.
They appear to be about 10 days later than last year (just like the blue tits) but this weekend a female emerged first, followed by a bunch of guys and gals.
I think we have also found a way to hurry them along.
The action of breaking out of their cocoons is probably triggered (in part) by rising temperature. And after the first female emerged, we brought the flight-cage into the conservatory from the garage, in order to take a few photos.
But after a couple of hours in the warm, three males suddenly emerged. Initially their wings look small and feeble. But within a few minutes (maybe 20mins) they are pumped up, and remain floppy until they have had a chance to dry-out and harden.
Photographing them is trickey. They either want to walk away, or they sit there with their wings vibrating, as if conducting a pre-flight check.
|The slight blur is due to this male exercising (vibrating) its wings
The male is much smaller than the female, but has more coulorful inner wings.
Generally, our emerging males don't pay much attention to the females, as they are related. So we release the males as soon as we have finished
We had one female with defective wings, that she was unable to inflate.
But this didn't stop a visiting male having its wicked way with her.
The male has these amazing feathered antennae, which I understand are used to help them detect female sex pheromones.
See my 2014 post for more information.