When we think of moths, the image of the dull-looking brown cloth moth, notorious for gnawing through our finest outfits, is usually what pops up in our minds. However, turns out that there are about 16,000 species of these insects, nearly ten times as many as their prettier cousin, the butterfly.
While a majority are similar looking, a few, stand out - Amongst them is the Madagascar Sunset Moth, which is known for its beauty, the Death's Head Hawk moth, which is associated with evil and the supernatural and, the biggest of them all . . . . . The Attacus Atlas moth.
Native to South Asia these ginormous insects can be found all the way from India to Papua New Guinea, in Oceania. With wingspans measuring over 25-centimeters that can be seen from a distance thanks to the colorful patterns on its wings, the insects can be quite intimidating, especially for people who have never seen them before.
Indian photographer Sandesh Kadur and his team were lucky enough to encounter one recently whilst driving through Arunachal Pradesh in northeast India. Given that the moth fitted right in with the mission of his trip, which was to document the biodiversity of the area, the photographer quickly pulled out his camera to snap a picture or two. As soon as he did, instead of flying away the moth showed off, by spreading its wings as far out as possible, something it does to fend off predators.
As Mr. Kadur quickly snapped this amazing picture, a member of his team was able to sneak behind the moth and roughly measure its wingspan, which it turned out, was wider than his face!
Intimidating as it looked, the photographers knew they were in no danger of getting hurt by this gentle giant that has a lifespan of a mere two weeks. For that matter even the tiniest of creatures are in no danger, because believe it or not, the moth does not have a mouth. Instead, the insect relies on its fat stores from all the eating it does during the larval stage when it was still evolving from an egg to a pupa. It's sole purpose as an adult is to reproduce and . . . . . . . . scare unsuspecting people!
Resources: newscientist.com, wikipedia.com