Atlas Moth - (mindblowing + world's largest moth)
A pair of Atlas Moths donated by one of my friends just before he left town. The larger moth on top is the female. The rest of my family are not impressed and there will be no room for them in the house. But looking at them more closely yesterday, I noticed that the triangle shaped patches are on their wings are translucent which may allow them blend in to their surroundings or confuse their enemies during flight. Makes me wonder if this patch is on it's way to evolving into a mock eye that we see on so many creatures.
(From Wikipedia 8/26/07)
The Atlas moth (Attacus atlas) is a large saturniid moth found in the tropical and subtropical forests of Southeast Asia, southern China, common across the Malay archipelago, Thailand to Indonesia. In India, Atlas moths are cultivated for their silk in a non-commercial capacity; unlike that produced by the related Silkworm moth (Bombyx mori), Atlas moth silk is secreted as broken strands. Atlas moth cocoons have been employed as purses in Taiwan.
Atlas moths are considered to be the largest moths in the world in terms of total wing surface area (upwards of c. 400 square cm or 65 square inches). Their wingspans are also amongst the largest, from 25-30 cm (10-12 inches). Females are appreciably larger and heavier.
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.