Endemic silk moths (Lepidoptera: Lasiocampidae) in Madagascar have been collected and exploited for centuries by local populations either for food or as a source of silk cocoons from which textiles are made. Moth natural forest habitat has also been degraded, leading to a drastic decrease in silk moth populations. However, very few scientific reports highlighted these observations well known by the local people. We have inventoried silk moths species in tapia (Uapaca bojeri Baill.) forests located in the central highlands of Madagascar. Inventories have been conducted during one year from August 2009 to July 2010 by sampling transects in Imamo forests. Three species of Lasiocampidae belonging to two genera were found: Borocera cajani Vinson, Borocera marginepunctata Guérin-Méneville and Europtera punctillata Guenée. These three silk moth species are endemic to Madagascar but only one (B. cajani) is commercially exploited in the silk industry. The habitat, host plants, abundance, life cycle and feeding behaviour of these species in their natural habitat are described.
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Vol. 21 • No. 1