2.4. Wax moth adults
The adult greater wax
moth is approximately 15 mm long with a 31 mm average wingspan. The wings are grey
in colour, though the hind third of the wing, normally hidden, is bronze coloured
(Fig. 10). The wing venation patterns can be used as a diagnostic between
greater and lesser wax moths (Ferguson, 1987; Fig. 11). Male greater wax moths
are slightly smaller than females, lighter in colour, and have an indented,
scalloped front wing margin in contrast to the females that have a straight
front wing margin (Paddock, 1918). The female antennae are 10-20 % longer than
those of the male (Paddock, 1918). Greater wax moths emerge as adults in early
evening and find a protected place to expand and dry their wings. Greater wax
moths do not feed as adults and the females live ~12 days while the males live
~21 days (Paddock, 1918).
Fig. 11. Greater (left) and lesser (right) wax moth adults. (upper left) greater wax moth male, (lower left) greater wax moth female, (upper right) lesser wax moth male, (lower right) lesser wax moth female. Photograph is to scale. Photographs: Lyle Buss, University of Florida.