In mid December our garden had a few moth visitors that we had not seen in previous years. The first was discovered, as it is normal around here, by Stephen, our caretaker. Later on, Adam, his son brought another one and we also found another couple of them in the garden. Subsequently they entered the house, attracted by the light where they stayed for a few days.
I identified them as Bunaea alcinoe but the colours were, somehow, not completely right so, once more, I appealed to the internet for an answer and contacted www.africanmoths.com seeking clarification. I place our exchange below:
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 2015 10:49:44 +0200
Subject: Bunaea alcinoe?
Just a short note to let you know that these moths turned up in our garden last night and I thought u may be interested. I believe them to be B. altinoe (sic) but, as usual, their colour pattern does not exactly match the pics I am seeing. Although this may not be great news for you, I find them incredible! Attached a picture of one of the moths with a ruler for reference. Kind regards. Julio de Castro
The reply came immediately:
Dear Julio, This is indeed a beautiful moth and one I have never seen. It is not Bunaea alcinoe but is called Nudaurelia macrothyris please see http://www.africanmoths.com/pages/SATURNIIDAE/SATURNIINAE/nudaurelia%20macrothyris.html for more details. Do you object if I add this picture to the page in due course? Best wishes, Roy Goff.
Roy was correct, of course, and I agreed for the picture to be used in their page.
As usual the moths died after a few days, after laying a large number of eggs. I collected as many as I could and attached them to the right trees where they have already hatched and the caterpillars disappeared!
Hoping that they will not rid our garden from trees, I expect more moths to visit us next year!