Monday, 15 April 2013

In Focus - Attacus Atlas Moth

Status: Not Evaluated 

Geographic Region: South East Asia  

Meaning of name: Titan of Greek Mythology

Habitat:Tropical and Sub Tropical Forests  

Threats:Birds, Small Mammals and other Insects 

Left in Wild: Abundant    

Atlas Moth at the  American Museum of Natural History , Butterfly Conservatory

The Atlas Moth is the largest known moth on earth with a wing span exceeding 25cm. The female grows considerably larger than the male. The male moth spends its entire adult life seeking a female only to die of exhaustion as soon as he fertilises the female eggs.
A subspecies in India is commonly used for the production of silk and in Taiwan the cocoon has been used as a purse.

The adult moth does not have a fully formed mouth so does not eat for its entire one to two week adult life. They survive on fat storage that they gain whilst they are caterpillars.

Stu’s Zoo Pick for the Atlas Moth

To be fair I have only seen one Atlas Moth and that was at the  American Museum of Natural History in New York, Butterfly Conservatory. It sat motionless in the foliage and yet dominated the environment with its size and colour.

Feeders in the conservatory

Some of the information displays

The Butterfly Conservatory at The American Museum of Natural History New York is definitely worth a visit. It’s very educational and gives you the opportunity to see butterflies and moths from many regions of the planet. The conservatory itself is very well done mimicking a tropical rainforest, and yet another example of indoor exhibits using the latest technology to recreate environs. 
Entry to the conservatory is extra on top of your Museum entry ticket. The exhibit also delves into the evolution, conservation and ecology of these delicate creatures. 

One of the 500 butterflies and moths on show in the conservatory 


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