The Atlas Moth is a species from the Attacus genus. It is found in the tropical and subtropical forests of Southeast Asia, and common across the Malay archipelago.
Atlas moths are predominantly tawny to maroon in colour with roughly triangular, diaphanous "eyes" on both forewing and hindwing, bordered in black. The purpose of these dramatic, gossamer portals is not clear, but they are thought to play a role in predator avoidance. Their bodies are hairy and disproportionately small compared to their wings. Patterns and colouration vary among the many described subspecies. Male Atlas moths are distinguished from females by their smaller size, more tapered wings, and larger, bushier antennae.
Atlas moths are attracted to lights at night. Females are sexually passive, releasing powerful pheromones which males detect and home in on with the help of chemoreceptors located on their large feathery antennae. Males may thus be attracted from several kilometres downwind. Atlas moths are unsteady fliers, and the female does not stray far from the location of her discarded chrysalis, instead, she seeks a perch where the air currents will best carry her pheromones.
Atlas moths live in habitats from the lowlands to upper mountain forests, and loco
The larvae feed on many kinds of trees, including Jamaican cherry, soursop, cinnamon, rambutan, guava, and citrus. The moths lack developed mouthparts and do not feed.
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Once mated, the female lays a number of spherical eggs 2.5 mm in diameter on the undersides of leaves. Dusty-green caterpillars hatch after about two weeks and feed voraciously on the foliage of certain citrus and other evergreen trees. The caterpillars are adorned with fleshy spines along their backs which are covered in a waxy white substance. After reaching a length of about 115 millimetres (4.5 in), the caterpillars pupate within papery cocoon interwoven into desiccated leaves. The adult moths emerge after about four weeks.
- Atlas moths are considered the largest moths in the world in terms of total wing surface area . Their wingspans are also amongst the largest, reaching over 25 cm. Females are appreciably larger and heavier.