Epicopeia hainesii

It was great to find this ageha-modoki moth last night. It was in amongst the vegetation under a lighted signboard next to a major highway (Route 3) in Munakata.
This species of moth is an amazing mimic, looking almost exactly like a black swallowtail butterfly (ageha). Apparently the butterfly is foul-tasting so the moth’s defence against being eaten is to look like the butterfly. Does that mean the moth tastes better than the butterfly? Anyone want to try?

(Edited 21st April, 2008) The swallowtail butterfly that this moth mimics can be seen here: http://natural-japan.net/?p=308. Both the moth and butterfly are foul-tasting (not that I’ve tried) and so they both benefit each other by looking alike. This form of mimicry is called Mullerian Mimicry (Wikipedia article here).

Epicopeia hainesiiEpicopeia hainesiiEpicopeia hainesiiEpicopeia hainesii

Lepidoptera: Epicopeiidae
Epicopeia hainesii hainesii = ageha-modoki (“butterfly-look-a-like” moth)

Location: Signboard near Fukuoka University of Education.
Google map: here

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2 Responses to Epicopeia hainesii

  1. Daitoshi says:

    Wow!
    You have many beautiful pictures here. I am amazed at the quality of most of them. So clear and crisp, like real-life.
    I was searching for images to use in a picture I was making in Art class, and I came across your site. I hope you do not mind me using the subject of some of your pictures in my artwork. Many of the beetle pictures are just amazing.
    As a plus, Japan seems to have so many strange and beautiful insects that I have never heard of. I really want to visit now, even if it is just to wander around to look at the birds and bugs.

    Thank you for the wonderful pictures.

  2. Nigel says:

    Hi Daitoshi,
    Thanks for your positive comment. Glad you like the photos. Go ahead and use some in your art class. It’s cool that you asked. Most people wouldn’t.
    Hope that you get out to Japan some time. It’s a fantastic place to live. If you’re still in college (I’m guessing from you mentioning “art class”), then look into the JET program. It’s a way to come and teach English in Japan. Very popular with Japanese Americans (if that’s your ethnic background).
    All the best,
    Nigel

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