Bunaea alcinoe

Bunaea alcinoe, /bjuːˈnə ælˈsɪn/ the cabbage tree emperor moth, is an African moth species belonging to the family Saturniidae. It was first described by Caspar Stoll in 1780.

Cabbage tree emperor moth
Bunaea alcinae - Cameroon.jpg
From Cameroon
Scientific classification
B. alcinoe
Binomial name
Bunaea alcinoe
(Stoll, 1780)
From William Lucas Distant's 1924 Insecta Transvaaliensia

Larva: Final instar about 70 mm in length and about 15 mm in diameter. "Ground colour deep velvety black; each somite, from 4th to 12th, bearing eight white/yellow tubercular processes, two subdorsally, two laterally, and four (in two rows) on each side subspiracularly. The 2nd somite bears four black processes, two subdorsally and two laterally. The 3rd somite bears 4 black processes, as in the 2nd, and two small yellow processes on each side, in line with the subspiracular processes on the other somites. Spiracles red; those on the 4th to 11th somites being surrounded by an irregularly shaped red area. Head and legs concolorous with body". (Fawcett).

Food plants: Species of the genera Bauhinia, Croton, Cussonia and Celtis and the species Harpephyllum caffrum and Ekebergia capensis. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo the larvae feed on Sarcocephalus latifolius, Crossopteryx febrifuga and Dacryodes edulis.

In Greek mythology Alcinoe was the daughter of Polybus of Corinth. Alcinoe was also the name of a naiad, daughter of Oceanus and Tethys.

Larvae of Bunaea alcinoe
Eggs of Bunaea alcinoe with wasp


  • Distant, W. L. Insecta Transvaaliensia. (Francis Edwards, London 1924)
  • Latham, P. Edible Caterpillars and Their Food Plants in Bas-Congo Province, Democratic Republic of Congo. (Mystole Publications, Canterbury 2003) ISBN 0-9543012-7-7

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