Chinese Oak Moth (Antheraea pernyi)

Lepidoptery is study and cataloguing of butterflies and moths. Collecting different species has been something I've done since a child- building up a bank of over 50 species over the past 10 years. I usually pick these up from second hand shops or markets. Along with this I have raised common British species each year by collecting caterpillars and cocoons. I decided to combine these two hobbies into one and got hold of three beautiful Chinese Oak Moth cocoons.

The three silk moths spent about two weeks in their cocoons before emerging and living with me for another two or three weeks. This type of moth has no mouth and so doesn't need any water or food and so were quite happy to share my bedroom with me. Below is the largest and last to emerge female.

When she naturally died I moved her to my mantelpiece- positioned her in a natural pose and left her for a few days. The fluid in a moth or butterflies joins will naturally harden and make them stiff - in professional butterfly taxidermy the specimen will be pinned into a position which best shows their wing patterning. I decided not to do this since I had raised my moth I wanted to mount her in a natural position.

I found a cheap box frame and took it apart. I've become familiar with does this as I sometimes take apart my own specimens to clean and repair them.

I then pinned my oak moth through her abdomen and positioned her on the frame. I split her cocoon in half in order to mount this along with her.

I put the frame back together and secured the back. I'd love to try with a more delicate or exotic butterfly next.