D & M Perlman Fine Jewelry & Gifts

Friday Flyers #37

Telling "Tails"!


Happy Friday, Bug Fans!!! It’s time for another edition of Friday Flyers. We hope you’re having a great Friday. Today’s Friday Flyers is pretty simple…no scientific concepts, not too much detail…just beautiful pictures to look at. Today’s topic is “tails”. Dogs, cats, monkeys, lizards, and stingrays all have tails. Their tails are part of their bodies and extend as a growth from the end of their abdomens. For butterflies and moths, a tail does not refer to an appendage on the body. For these insects, tails are an extension of the hind wing, usually with a wing vein in the center for strength. Swallowtail butterflies are even named for their tails. But compared to some moths, Swallowtail butterflies are mere amateurs!!! Today we’ve assembled a list of 10 “tailed” moths that we think you’ll find most interesting. Most of them are lesser known than their butterfly cousins. This is partly because there are far fewer books about moths than about butterflies, and also because most moths fly at night and are rarely seen by the average person. So today we decided to give you 10 reasons to consider adding some moths to your collection!!!

1 Dysdaemonia boreas - A beautiful moth in the Saturniid family from Central and South America. Our pictured specimen is from Ecuador and has a 5½ inch wingspan with ¾ inch tails.

2 Sematura (Nothus) lunus - A true prize in any collection. From the small family Sematuridae, the pictured specimen is also from Ecuador. This is a male with a 3½ inch wingspan. The females are darker.

3 Lyssa (Nyctalemon) Moths - A small group of Southeast Asian moths in the Uraniidae family. They are mostly brown with white markings, and average about 5 inches in wingspan. They have 2 tails!!!

4 Urania leilus - A day-flying moth in the family Uraniidae, this beautiful moth is found from Central to South America, mostly East of the Andes Mountains. The iridescent markings are spectacular. Typical wingspans are around 3 inches. This specimen is from Brazil.

5 Actias luna - The Luna Moth from the Eastern United States. The Luna Moth is a beautiful light green with transparent eyespots. With a wingspan of around 4 inches, these tails are starting to get impressive. This specimen is from Dundee, Illinois---found on our building!!! You’ll also recognize this moth from the Lunesta T.V. commercials.

6 Urania ripheus - The Sunset Moth. This moth is a day-flyer from Madagascar. Most people consider it to be the world’s most beautiful moth. We featured it in week 1 of our Friday Flyers. It is spectacularly iridescent, and look at all those tails!!! Wingspan is about 3½ inches.

7 Argemma mittrei - The Madagascar Moon Moth or Comet Moth. This is a truly spectacular moth. The striking yellow and rose colors make it a favorite for all moth collectors. This specimen has a wingspan of 5 inches…with 4½ inch tails!!! The females have slightly shorter tails.

8 Actias maenas - A close relative of Argemma mittrei, Actias maenas is slightly smaller, but with slightly longer tails!!! This specimen is from the Philippines. This species is quite variable in the amount of rose markings present, and varies from location to location.

9 Copiopteryx semiramis - A childhood favorite of ours. Copiopteryx moths are from Central and South America. They have the longest tails in the Western Hemisphere. This specimen is from Ecuador.

10 Eustera argophontes - For our final contestant, we bring you this beyond-belief moth from Cameroon, Africa. Eustera moths all have long tails, but argophontes wins hands down. How did it evolve??? How can it fly??? All we know it that it is a true wonder of nature!!! Wingspan 2½ inches, tails 6½ inches---a ratio of almost 3 to 1!!!

So that’s our list of moth tails for this week. We hope you enjoyed it. Most of these moths are fairly common, and therefore not overly expensive. We’ll be happy to help you add to your collection with one of these spectacular moths from our Wonders Of Nature department.

And don’t forget, we have now completed the archiving of all of our previous Friday Flyers editions on our website. You can now refer to all of the past editions complete with all the photos, in a stable, permanent, non-shifting, non-Facebook format. We hope you’ll visit our website and check it out at:


We hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of Friday Flyers. We love sharing our interest in butterflies and insects with you. Please enjoy the photos we have posted with this week’s edition, and be sure to see all the previous pictures in our Friday Flyers album. Remember to “like” our Wonders Of Nature page, and be sure to pass it along to all your Facebook Friends. We hope you’ll visit our Wonders Of Nature department soon, and we look forward to seeing you.


Finding specimens that are so perfect is somewhat rare because their tails can easily break. We cataloged these moths on our research trips to the tropics!

These moths are so pretty that most people would look at them and assume they're butterflies. And, the left one and right one actually fly during the day, like butterflies, so that makes it all the more confusing.

On our research trips, we've seen the Copiopteryx moth pictured on the right. It flies very high, and then stops flapping and dive-bombs the ground, with its tails twirling behind it!

The moth with the longest tail-to-wingspan ratio! Finding these moths complete with their tails is very very difficult.


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