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Atlas Moth Facts: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

How many fun Atlas moth facts do you already know? Put your knowledge to the test with these fun tidbits about these insects!

Though not the biggest moth on the block, the Atlas moth is definitely one of the most interesting ones around! One of their most prominent features is that they are mistaken for butterflies ever so often! While they do have colorful wings to match their close relatives, there is a critical difference in them. It is their snake-shaped wings! Yes, if you notice the sides of their wings, you will be able to see a very clear snake-shaped figure in their wings. Some scientists assume it is to ward off predators, whereas others just dismiss it as a natural anomaly. But whatever the reason may be, the snake-shaped wings look cool as anything! If you want to know more about this moth, and even know why it does not have a mouth, then simply scroll on ahead! If you want to explore other unique creatures like the red admiral butterfly and painted lady butterfly, you can do so right here on Kidadl.

Atlas Moth Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Atlas moth?

Attacus atlas is a type of moth.

What class of animal does an Atlas moth belong to?

The Atlas moth belongs to the class of arthropod.

How many Atlas moths are there in the world?

The title 'Atlas moth' is occasionally wrongly applied to any species of the Attacus genus, which includes over 20 identified species and subspecies. The estimated population in the world of this species is unknown.

Where does an Atlas moth live?

The Atlas moth having large size wings lives in the woods in East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, especially Borneo.

What is an Atlas moth's habitat?

The Atlas moth habitat is primarily dried tropical forests, shrublands, and secondary forests.

Who do Atlas moths live with?

This snake's head moth species, that hums around your porch light, usually remain loners.

How long does an Atlas moth live?

The Atlas moth lifespan varies slightly based on the host plant on which the Atlas moth larvae are raised. However, the Atlas moth life span lasts for five to seven days on average.

How do they reproduce?

To attract a partner, females produce potent pheromones through a gland at the end of the abdomen. The female stays close to where her Atlas moth cocoons have been thrown. The female deposits several oval Atlas moth eggs on the lower part of leaves of food plants once mated.

Dusty-green-colored Atlas moth caterpillars hatch after about two weeks. These caterpillars gorge themselves on a variety of evergreen trees. The Atlas moth caterpillar can reach a length of 4.5 in (11.4 cm). The very first feast of Atlas moth caterpillar is almost always their eggshell. Atlas moth caterpillars are prepared to pupate when they reach a length of around  4.5 in (11.4 cm). The adult moths hatch from cocoons about four weeks or less, depending on environmental conditions.

Adult Atlas moths are shaky, wobbly fliers. The moths sleep during the day and travel at night to preserve energy. Adults cannot consume because they lack completely formed mouthparts. Therefore they rely solely on fat reserves gathered during the larvae. As a result, they only exist for a few days, and during that time, their primary purpose is to find a partner. Adults can be found on the wing during the year, but the months of November-January are the busiest.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the Atlas moth, which feeds on plants like the rosy maple moth, is Not Evaluated.

Atlas Moth Fun Facts

What do Atlas moths look like?

With the Atlas moth wingspan of up to 9.4 in (23.8 cm) and a wing surface area of around  25 sq in (161.2 sq cm), the Atlas moth is one of the biggest lepidopterans. Only the white witch moth has a longer wingspan, and the Hercules moth has a larger wing surface area. In addition, females are notably heavier and larger than males, as they are in most Lepidoptera, and males possess broader antennae.

In comparison to the wings, the body is abnormally small. The upper side of the wings is reddish-brown with a pink, white,  purple, and black lines pattern and trapezoidal, scale-less windows rimmed in black. The lower parts of the wings are paler than the topsides. When possible predators challenge the moth, both forewings have a noticeable projection at the tip with patterns that mimic a snake-head, a similarity that is emphasized by the motions of the wings. A female will wait for a male to appear, fertilize her, lay eggs, and then die just like a gypsy moth.

Atlas moth wings resemble snake heads.

How cute are they?

With a massive surface area and an eye-catching pattern of wings, this one of the greatest lepidopterans moths is quite stunning.

How do they communicate?

Atlas moths communicate largely by chemical cues, like female moth pheromones and visual appearance. Predation is deterred by waxy larvae that mimic decaying caterpillars or bird droppings. Adult moths, meanwhile, have patterns that resemble snakes, possibly to deter predators such as birds. Female Atlas moth creatures do not react to mating pheromones produced by themselves or other females of similar species. Instead, this caterpillar emits foul-smelling material to scare off predators.

How big is an Atlas moth?

The giant Atlas moth size measures between 1.18-1.57 in (3-4 cm).  The Luna moth length measures up to 4.5 in (11.4 cm). Thus, the Atlas moth is smaller than the Luna moth.

How fast can Atlas moths fly?

The Atlas moth tries to fly for a short distance as little as feasible to save energy. However, every flight consumes important energy and can cut days from Atlas moth life cycle that is already limited, ranging from one to two weeks.

How much does an Atlas moth weigh?

An adult moth with a limited life span and wings that resemble the head of the snake weighs between 0.88-0.98 oz (25-27.7 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female species of these moths, famous for their markings on the wings, don't have any particular name.

What would you call a baby Atlas moth?

There is no particular name for the baby Atlas moth that has large wings, just like the head of the snake.

What do they eat?

Remarkably, the images of these creatures show that they lack a mouth. Thus the caterpillar must swallow vast amounts of food to store enough fat for its future existence as a moth. The caterpillars of these enormous moths, eat cinnamon, Citrus leaves, Jamaican cherry, and various different evergreen tree leaves.

Are they harmful?

This Atlas moth (moths with snake head-like wings) belong to the Saturniidae family are not harmful.

Would they make a good pet?

Caterpillars of the Atlas moth are easy to keep as pets because they don't require much attention and don't try to flee. Instead, they will move about looking for an appropriate location to build a cocoon as they're about to make one. A translucent plastic box with many ventilation holes would be ideal for the caterpillar to live in.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

They survive by storing reserves as Atlas moth caterpillars. The primary aim of the adult Atlas moth, once it exits from the cocoon, is to attract a partner. Therefore, the moth stays close to the Atlas moth cocoon and saves all of its energy for breeding.

The Atlas moth is most likely the basis of the Japanese movie monster Mothra.

Atlas moths are bred in India for beautiful brown silk. Fagara is a silk fabric made by Atlas moths that is extremely resilient.

Compared to Atlas moths, which have one of the largest wingspans, only the White witch moth has a greater wingspan.

Atlas moths are titled after Atlas, from Greek mythology (due to their size), and the Cantonese term 'snake's head moth' refers to the conspicuous protrusion of the forewing that resembles a snake-head in Hong Kong.

Why does the Atlas moth have no mouth?

The Atlas moth (not rare) has a small, vestigial proboscis, and once it appears from the cocoon, it does not eat, relying instead on fat metabolism for energy. As a result, they try to fly as little as possible to save energy.

What's the difference between an Atlas moth and a Hercules moth?

When talking about the Hercules moth vs Atlas moth, there is much to speak of. The Hercules moth is the second-biggest of wing size and the third-largest in terms of wingspan in the world. However, it is only second in wing size to the Atlas moth of South China. Males get a wingspan of roughly 9.8 in (24.8 cm), while females own a wingspan of 10.6 in (27 cm).

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these plume moth facts and puss moth facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable atlas moth coloring pages.

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