Providence saw fit to smile upon me and three moths were there to greet me on my last day of work. The last one I saved from drowning so that’s why it looks… yeah…
Presenting QUEEN TABITHA AUDREY CHUBBLEBUTTS THE THIRD.
She is an Attacus atlas who recently emerged from her cocoon. One interesting fact I learned today is that Atlas Moths can live in their cocoons for up to five years!
The Atlas moth (A. atlas) painting for the moth design project. The full size is pretty huge, appropriately enough! I had so much fun with this one.
Moth of the Week: Atlas Moth, Attacus atlas
It’s that time of the week again, and since I got a request for “that moth that’s the size of your hand”, here it is!
Meet Attacus atlas, or the Atlas Moth, one of the most famous and beloved moths in the world! A giant silk moth from the family Saturniidae, they are named “atlas” because their flashy wing patterns vaguely resemble an antique map, and from Greek Mythology; Atlas was the Titan responsible for holding up the heavens. Attacus is Latin for a type of locust. Atlas moths are famous because of their huge size—their wing surface area can be over 65 square inches! They also have one of the largest wingspans at around 8”-11”, beaten just by the White Witch Moth (maybe next week?).
Atlas Moths are found in tropical and subtropical forests in Southeast Asia, where they can be found throughout the year. Most can be seen from November to January. Caterpillars voraciously feed off of certain host plants such as citrus, and they pupate for about two weeks. Once they emerge, they do not have functioning mouth parts, therefore limiting their lifespans to about one or two weeks. They have to live on larval fat reserves. The considerably chubbier females send out scent pheromones at night from a gland at the end of their abdomen, waiting for a male to pick up the signal.
These moths have relatively good relationships with humans. Not only are they harmless and majestic, but in India their silk, called fagara, is harvested for noncommercial purposes and is considered some of the strongest on Earth. In China, their cocoons are sometimes used to make purses!
One interesting fact about the Atlas Moth is its unique mode of defense—when disturbed, it’ll drop to the ground and fan its wings, which with its patterns makes it resemble a snake to deter predators. The triangles on their wings are also transparent, although nobody knows why this is so.