Atlas Moth

close up of a large moth with tan, white, and white markings with green leaves behind it

The Atlas Moth, also named Attacus Atlas, which is the largest moth in the world, is said to have gotten its name from a few different sources. Some say the moth got its name form resembling the bold distinct lines like the ones found in atlas maps. Others say the name is based on Greek mythology, being named after Atlas, the Titan condemned by Zeus to hold up the sky on his shoulders, because of his large size. Lastly, it is said the name came from the Cantonese. Atlas translates to “snake’s head mouth”, because the pattern on the wing tips look like a snake head. Whatever the true source is, the Atlas Moth can be found in the tropical and subtropical forests of Southeast Asia.

The Atlas Moth has wing colors of rusty brown, light yellow, red, purple, and black. On the front and back of the wings there are two triangles shaped like windows made of translucent material. Before it becomes the largest moth in the world, it starts out as a green and white caterpillar with soft spikes all over their back. This type of moth does not have a mouth which means it cannot eat. It lives off energy stored as a caterpillar which is why the Atlas Moth only has a life span of 5 to 7 days. When it is a young caterpillar however it eat a lot of privet leaves, citrus trees, cinnamon trees, and mango trees.

During the day the Atlas Moth does not move and will stay in one spot for hours, making it an exciting find at the Christian Butterfly Wing. Visit Reiman Gardens where you can see the Atlas Moth up close and personal to see how large it really is!

– Kasey the Retail Management Intern