Description: With a wingspan of up to a foot in length, the great Atlas Moth is believed to be the world's largest moth. The Atlas Moth is named after the Greek titan Atlas, who was punished with the weight of the Earth on his shoulders for eternity. Some believe it was named because its wings resemble the patterns of a map. The Atlas Moth is a beautiful moth, tawny or rufous in coloration with intricate patterns of white stripes, black markings, and white false eyes outlined in black. The wings are extremely large, making flight somewhat awkward. Females are considerably larger than males. Atlas Moths are sometimes raised for their silk, known as "fagara". Their cocoons are used to make purses in Taiwan.
Range: The Atlas Moth is common in the subtropical forests of Southeast Asia, from southern China to Indonesia.
Life Cycle: Females lay a cluster of tiny eggs on the underside of a leaf. After about two weeks, the dark-green caterpillars emerge and begin feeding on the leaves of certain citrus and evergreen trees. The caterpillars soon grow spiny projections form their backs that are covered with a white, waxy substance. After reaching a length of about four inches, the caterpillar enters its chrysalis stage. The chrysalis is a dark greenish color and looks like dried leaves. After about four weeks, the adult moth emerges. The moth lives for a period of about one or two weeks, during which its only purpose is to mate. Because it has no mouth, it does not eat and survives off deposits reserved when it was a caterpillar.