Beginner Cat Photo Skills

Gum Emperor Moth & A Narrow Escape

Today’s animal portrait is the story of a nail-biting and narrow escape from death by an amazing creature. Meet the Gum Emperor Moth .

What Can You Photograph in a Hurry?

Let me tell you wht happened! The family were mowing the lawn, it’s been a lovely New Zealand summer’s day. We have an electric mower so I manoeuvre the cable while Dash dad Paul mows. It’s fun to work together and when it’s finished we feel a joint sense of achievement at a job well done.

Suddenly Paul froze and stopped the mower. He looked down anxiously and I saw a sandy flicker on top of the dried grass. It looked like a piece of paper and I moved closer. I saw, to my astonishment, that we had narrowly escaped mangling a huge moth.

How Magnificent can a Moth be?

Gum Emperor Moth
My hand is still in the green gardening glove.

Opdiphthera Eucalypti commonly known by the friendlier name the ‘Gum Emperor Moth’ is not cute or tiny. Our beast had a wingspan of 10.5 cms. or 4 inches. I picked the moth up very very carefully with both hands to see if it was damaged. It seemed to climb onto my glove and I held my breath……..

If you want to discover more about Opdiphthera Eucalypti read here.

Photographing the Gum Emperor Moth

Carrying the large moth off the lawn I looked carefully but could see no damage to wings or its short chubby body. Thankfully it seemed undamaged and Paul had the sense to rush and grab my DSLR.

In the top picture, you can see my glove as I put my hand carefully down on the garden table for a picture.

Gum Emperor Moth

Paul does not know how to use my DSLR

I carefully held the moth and could not risk slipping my hand out of the glove or it might fly away. Paul had to learn how to hold a DSLR and focus on the moth all in about half a minute! He took as many pictures as he could, and he kept the moth in focus before it flew away.

I suggested using the automatic closeup setting as this was easiest to find. On the dial, this is a single stylised flower.

Close up Dial Image Canon

As you can see. Paul got some great pictures including the fine moth antennae which you can see beginning to appear above the wing tops in the second picture. They look like a dark grey bar near the top of the picture. These antennae look like long feathers when fully extended.

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16 thoughts on “Gum Emperor Moth & A Narrow Escape”

  1. That is a beautiful moth. We used to have Luna moths and they were giant. They are incredible.

  2. That sure was a good teaching session…maybe now your hubby will try to learn the DSLR too? My camera is a P & S One, but it has a sport setting,and a P setting, as well as the pretty flower. Also some others that I don’t really know what to do with…haha! Its a CanonSX40…not a new one, but it does the job for this less than tech head…most of the time. Sometimes my phone camera has to take over, MOL!
    Pawppy has a DSLR, also a Canon, ad you guessed it, I m scared to use it!

    That sure is a beautiful moth!
    Here we have polyphemus moths and cecropia moths. They and 2 other large species are known as giant silk moths.
    The ones I mentioned look similar to your Gum moth.

    Here is some other info:
    The cecropia is Michigan’s largest moth. It has a six-inch wingspan and its preferred food plants include wild black cherry, sugar maple and silver maple.

  3. Great photos. I just showed my hubby, he loves moths and butterflies. He said it is similar to a polyphemus moth.

  4. That’s a beautiful moth ! We have their cousins here. Zorro loves to catch them and give them alive to Claire. Purrs

  5. Usually relying only on the “auto” setting … am getting lots of good training from you …
    Paul: great shots …

  6. Boy, that is a delightful moth, and a wonderful picture taken by your trainee photographer! I think you may have some competition there – or maybe another string to his bow, as wildlife photographer?

  7. OMC We totally left a comment and then closed the window. MOL Mommy’s losin’ it. Anyways, great foto. Everythin’ is dead here so we don’t have any bugs. Mommy’s glad ’bout that cuz she doesn’t like bugs. MOL Big hugs

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Raena


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