Atlas Moth | Largest Moth
Moths are insects that are closely related to butterflies. There are approximately 160,000 species of moths, some of which are yet to be described. Although moths closely resemble butterflies, there are difference between Moths and Butterflies. The distinguishing feature is the antennae. A moth has a feathery antenna while a butterfly has a thin antenna with a small ball at the end of it. Moths vary in sizes and shapes with some having a large surface area of over 60 square inches. The size of a moth can be measured using its wingspan which is the distance between the tip of one wing and the tip of the other wing. It can also be measured using the wing surface area also known as the wing platform area. The Atlas moth is generally considered the world’s largest moth alongside the white witch and Hercules moth.
The Atlas moth is a saturniid moth (a family of Lepidoptera consisting of over 2,300 species) endemic to Asian forests. It lives in the Malay Archipelago and draws a lot of attention from tourists because of its size. In fact, in Taiwan, the people use Atlas cocoons as purses. It is not entirely clear where the name Atlas comes from but it could be in reference to its large size referred to in Greek Mythology or because of the wing pattern. Atlas moths are the considered the largest moth species in the world due to its combined wingspan and surface area. The females are bigger and heavier than the male with the wingspan ranging from 10 to 12 inches and a surface area of approximately 62 square inches. Its wingspan and surface area are only surpassed by that of the white witch and Hercules moths. The wings are reddish-brown with white, black, pink, and purple patterns on the upper part while the undersides are pale.