The Sunset Moth possesses the resplendent beauty of a living kaleidoscope. Out of all the 174,250 known species of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), this is most likely the most beautiful in the world.
But here is the most amazing thing: the brilliant colors you see are actually an illusion. Its wings are covered with thousands of clear scales which scatter light, like a prism. As a result, the colors and patterns change continuously. Mind-blown yet?The Sunset Moth is the most beautiful Lepidoptera in the world and its wings resemble a kaleidoscope. Click To Tweet
During their caterpillar stage, they feed exclusively upon Omphalea spp. which allows them to produce and store toxins. These may maintain throughout their pupal stages. Thus the adults are actually toxic to any would-be predators.
They may be found anywhere on the island where the host plant exists. They are hence at risk of extinction, as human expansion decimates the concentration of their host species. Humans have so much to answer for.
The Sunset Moth and Kaleidoscope
The scale-based colors of this species is a unique evolutionary trait. The scales grow in multiple curved rows and layers. Additionally, the scales themselves are slightly curved. The result is the kaleidoscope effect for which they are so famous. Even when perfectly stationary, their colors vary to every observer or camera, due to varying angles of reflection. Absolutely stunning.