Southern Emperor Moth

Saturnia pavoniella Scopoli 1763



S. pavonia has a western European distribution and S. pavoniella has the eastern European distribution. There are differences in the genitalia of the two species and S. pavoniella is slightly larger, although not nearly as large as S. pyri. The males of S. pavoniella show some differences in hind wing pattern in comparison with S. pavonia.

The caterpillars, which Dan Danahar found on Corfu, are also different. However, from our point of view it's enough that we found these insects in the eastern Mediterranean to be fairly confident about their species identification.

Habitat Requirements

Larval Foodplants


On the 13th March 2021, Dan Danahar wrote of the CBC Face book page. 

I think this species exists on Corfu having found what looked like 3rd instar caterpillars on the 10th May 2015 at Xanthates. The males are similar in appearance to the females but with rusty orange hindwings and brown forewings. More importantly the males are day flying and so a trip to Xanthates now may reveal adults of this species. Having said this the Italians have been recording males of this species being on the wing since the end of January.

On the 31st March 2021, Jane Barry posted a photo of a female, taken at Roda, northern Corfu. Later that day Katie Jane also sent in a photograph of a female, from Perivoli in the south of the island. Jane Barry then posted a photograph of a dead female found by the side of the road (Roda) and Sandra Jane Krokidia posted the first image of a male, from Peroulades, nr Sidari, both on the 1st April 2021.

*The information provided in the tables below is based on verified sightings of the Southern Emperor Moth submitted via this website since 1st January 2021.

First and Last Sightings

Year First Last/latest # Days
2023 13/03/2023 02/05/2023 50 days
2022 24/03/2022 08/04/2022 15 days
2021 31/03/2021 07/04/2021 7 days

Number of Observations

Year Number of observations
2023 6
2022 6
2021 5
Grand Total 17

Distribution Map

Distribution maps for this species are currently unavailable.

Flight Times for the Southern Emperor Moth (2023)

The chart below shows flight data by month for 2023

Flight Times for the Southern Emperor Moth (All Data)

The chart below shows flight data by month since 1st January 2021


  • Vernacular/Common Name: Southern Emperor Moth
  • Family: Saturniidae ()
  • Sub-family: Saturniinae ()
  • Genus: Saturnia ()
  • Species: pavoniella Scopoli 1763


For a list of references, please see our bibliography page.