About the Brahmaeidae
The Brahmaeidae are a small family within the large Bombycoidea superfamily, best known for the popular Owl moths (Brahmaea species). The 68 species currently recognized, occur mainly in Africa and Asia, with for a very long time only one species in Europe (Brahmaea europaea). That was before the Lemoniidae family became part of the Brahmaeidae. Species out the Brahmaea and Dactyloceras genera grow fairly large and many have a wingspan well over ten centimeter.
After the inclusion of the former Lemoniidae, the family now consists out of six genera: Brahmaea, Calliprogonos, Dactyloceras, Lemonia, Sabalia and Spiramiopsis.
The former Lemoniidae
Not everybody agrees with the fairly recent inclusion of the Lemoniidae (the genera Lemonia and Sabalia) within the Brahmaeidae. However it is clear that both families are very closely related. Given the growing consensus, based on more and more studies, I will treat the former Lemoniidae as part of the Brahmaeidae.
It is interesting that by this merge of both families, the caterpillars within this family are now much more diverse. Lemonia caterpillars do not at all resemble those of Brahmaea or Dactyloceras.
Many Brahmaea species are easy to rear and livestock is often sold on specialized websites. Well known species as Brahmaea japonica, tancrei, wallichii and certhia are very popular because of the spectacular caterpillars. The fact that the members of this genus feed upon Ligustrum species, easy to find plants for many people, contribute to their popularity. The sole European Brahmaea species, Brahmaea europaea is significantly more challenging.
Lemonia species, except maybe Lemonia taraxaci, are more difficult and require warm and dry rearing conditions and very high hygiene. Any contact of the caterpillars with their own excrements can result in a fatal collapse of the brood.
Members of the other genera are rarely or not at all available on the European market and there are only very few reports of successful rearings.
Genera on this website