The 3 biggest moths in the world are anything but what you’d commonly find buzzing around a light bulb!
When it comes to wildlife, the phrase “the bigger the better” is debatable. When it comes to giant moths, size means intricate patterns, bizarre pupa patterns and the odd scream if you or a loved one just happen to get up close and personal with one!
Today we take a closer look at the monster moths that are the biggest in the entire globe!
Warning: if you have mottephobia, please stop reading now…
3. Atlas Moth (Attacus Atlas)
(Photo Source: mentalfloss.com)
A South-East Asia Native, the Atlas Moth is far from your stereotypical plain, dusty-looking moth. With intricate patterned wings of reddish-brown, pink and black, this stunning moth could truly give a colourful butterfly a run for its money!
This moth has some very impressive defence strategies. Firstly, as caterpillars, they spray strong-smelling secretions to protect themselves from predators. As adults, their wing tips strongly resemble snake heads. Scientists believe this could be a defence strategy to deter predators.
A Snapshot of the Atlas Moth
Wingspan: 25-30 centimetre
Surface Area Size: 157 square centimetres
Host Plants: Citrus, Hibiscus, Syringa, Salix, Ailnathus, Lingstrum and Prunus
Habitat: Dry rainforests, forests and shrub-lands across South East Asia
Life Span: 5 to 7 days
2. White Witch (Thysania Agrippana)
(Photo source: alchetron.com)
The eerie and beautiful White Witch Moth takes the prize for the largest wing span, which can reach up to 29 centimetres. A bug of many names, this moth is also known as the Birdwing Moth, Ghost Moth, Great Owlet Moth and Great Grey Witch Moth.
It’s unique zigzag pattern helps it to blend into tropical trees and remain unseen by predators. This may be one of the reasons that this moth is very elusive and rare to see!
Wingspan: 27-29 centimetres
Host Plants: Rubber Tree, Senna, Cassia
Habitat: Temperate regions in Mexico and South America
Life Span: 1-2 week (estimated)
1. Hercules Moth (Coscinocera Hercules)
The biggest moth in the world hails from none other than Tropical North Queensland! The almighty Hercules Moth has a whopping wing span of 27 centimetres. The largest ever Hercules Moth was discovered in Innisfail, approximately 110km South of Kuranda. This female had a wingspan of 36cm.
Amazingly, the adult moths do not have usable mouths and do not feed. Therefore they only live around 2-8 days, which is long enough for mating and egg-laying to take place. Despite their short life span, the Hercules Moth can spend up to two years in the cocoon… talk about preparation!
A Snapshot of the Hercules Moth
Wing Span: 27 centimetres
Surface Area Size: 300 square centimetres
Host Plants: Bleeding Heart Tree and Cheese Tree
Habitat: North Queensland and New Guinea
Life Span: 2- 8 days
Ready to see one of the world’s biggest moths? Head to the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary and see Hercules Moths in our laboratory!