|What is the world's largest moth? - Nevit Dilmen|
For those of us who live in Europe, large moths are two a penny. In England and northern Europe the Deaths-Head hawk-moth - Acherontia atropos is the largest species you are likely to encounter, but if you make you way down to the Mediterranean then with a bit of luck you will happen across Europe's largest moth - the Giant Peacock Moth - Saturnia pyri.
|Atlas moth - Sachin Palkar|
Commonly known as the Atlas moth, its wing span is approximately twice that of our European giants. The record is currently held at an impressive 11 inches, although scientists believe it is possible for 12 inch specimens to exist! They even hold the record for having the largest wing surface area which can reach upwards of 62 sq inches!
Female Atlas moths are considerably larger and heavier. Strangely, Atlas moths do not have mouths and therefore are unable to eat during their time as an adult. Instead they survive just long enough to mate relying solely on the fat reserves built up as a caterpillar. Sadly these beautiful creatures can survive no more than a week or so once they have hatched from their pupae.
In India, Atlas moths are cultivated for their silk however this only in a non-commercial capacity. Atlas moth silk is secreted as broken strands, but it is thought to have greater durability than silk moth silk. Atlas moth silk is known as fagara.
Atlas moths are said to be named after either the Titan of Greek mythology, or their map-like wing patterns.
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