Tue 21 Aug 2007
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 hainesii hainesii = ageha-modoki (“butterfly-look-a-like” moth)
Location: Signboard near Fukuoka University of Education.
Google map: here