The Comet Moth (Argema mittrei), or Madagascan moon moth, is the one of the largest species of wild silk moths (family Saturniidae), found only in the rainforests of certain parts of Madagascar. A male wingspan is of up to 20cm wide, and a tail span of 15cm long. Its caterpillars feed only on fresh eucalyptus leaves. The adult moths do eat and lives for 4 to 5 days; they are only fertile the first day after getting out of the cocoon. The species is seriously threatened in the wild due to habitat loss. However, the moth is relatively easy to breed in captivity. For more information see: here and here.
The photographed specimen is the male and one of the three specimens of this unique species collected from Madagascar in the 19th century and retained in the Manchester Museum. Most probably, these specimens were purchased from one of the London natural history dealers at the end of 19th century. These specimens constitute a valuable part of C.H. Schill World Lepidoptera collection acquired by the Manchester Museum in March 1895.