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Atlas moth

Atlas moth
Photo Information
Copyright: Siegfried Potrykus (siggi) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-05
Categories: Insects
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2010-05-25 11:34
Viewed: 2607
Points: 30
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Atlas moth (Attacus atlas) is a large saturniid moth found in the tropical and subtropical forests of Southeast Asia, and common across the Malay archipelago. 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. This brown, wool-like silk is thought to have greater durability and is known as fagara. 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.
The largest lepidopteran in terms of wingspan is thought to be the White Witch, Thysania agrippina. A record specimen of Attacus atlas from Java measured 262 mm while Thysania are claimed to be about 270-280 mm or 11 inches. Based on some spread specimens and angle of wing, actual measurements of around 289 mm have been estimated.
Atlas moth are said to be named after either the Titan of Greek mythology, or their map-like wing patterns. In Hong Kong the Cantonese name translates as "snake's head moth", referring to apical extension of the forewing, which bears a passing resemblance to a snake's head.
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. Their bodies are hairy and disproportionately small compared to their wings. Patterns and colouration vary among the many described subspecies. Male Atlas moths are distinguished from females by their smaller size, more tapered wings, and larger, bushier antennae. Neither sex possess fully-formed mouthparts and therefore do not feed; throughout their 1-2 week adult life they survive entirely on larval fat reserves that they build up while they are caterpillars.
Females are sexually passive, releasing powerful pheromones which males detect and home in on with the help of chemoreceptors located on their large feathery antennae. Males may thus be attracted from several kilometres downwind. Atlas moths are unsteady fliers and the female does not stray far from the location of her discarded chrysalis: she seeks a perch where the air currents will best carry her pheromones.
Once mated the female lays a number of spherical eggs 2.5 mm in diameter on the undersides of leaves. Dusty-green caterpillars hatch after about two weeks and feed voraciously on the foliage of certain citrus and other evergreen trees.[8] The caterpillars are adorned with fleshy spines along their backs which are covered in a waxy white substance. After reaching a length of about 115 millimetres (4.5 in), the caterpillars pupate within papery cocoon interwoven into desiccated leaves. The adult moths emerge after about four weeks.

horias, uleko, boreocypriensis, cirano, nikosrio, jlinaresp, tuslaw has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To wishnugaruda: Schmetterlinsgarten.siggi 2 06-01 12:42
To briGG: Atlassiggi 1 05-26 12:22
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2010-05-25 11:37]

Hi Siggi
Perfect shot of this amazing moth!
Colors, details, POV, BG, all are great1 Congratulation for this beauty!

Hello Siggi,

What can I say? Very nice pose of this wonderful and the biggest moth. Admirable colours and shape. You have done a great work. Bravo and TFS.


  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-05-25 12:23]

Hello Siggi,
A great capture of an Atlas Moth showing fine details and lovely colours. Perhaps you should state in your note that it was taken in captivity.
TFS and regards, Ulla

Hi Siggi,
Du Glücklicher - diese Motte durfte ich noch nie mit eigenen Augen sehen - dabei ist das mein großer Wunsch ... Eindrucksvoll, und so arm, wenn man sich vorstellt, dass sie nur wenige Tage leben und keine Nahrung zu sich nehmen.
Dein Bild ist erstklassig. Ich würde auch gerne mal dieses Schmetterlingshaus in Zeeland anschauen, lohnt es sich denn? Sag' mir bitte, wie's Dir dort gefallen hat, gibt es viele verschiedene Arten?
Danke schön, liebe Grüße
Sabine - wishnugaruda

Good night MF Siggi,

Amazing job! Such a fine opportunity you got to take this shot. The DOF looks like it has worked wonders too. The colours look nice and eye-catching, and the details look extremely sharp.
TFS and cheers,


  • Great 
  • cirano Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 997 W: 0 N: 944] (13609)
  • [2010-05-25 13:43]

Hello Siggi,
A great macro shot of an Atlas Moth with excellent details and nice colors.TFS.
Best regards,

Te felicito por la captura de esta rara y bella especie. Lo siento (sorrry) por los pocos comentarios de hou.
Abrazo: J. Ignasi.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-05-26 1:30]

Hi Siggi,a fantastic beauty of nature and a perfect pic...no comment,it's enough to see it!!Fantastic.Thanks for share,have a nice day,LUCIANO

hello Siegfried
great shot of this beautiful moth
nice details and beautiful colours
greeting lou

Hello Siggi,
excellent capture, sharp details, beautifull colors and light,

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-05-26 3:29]

Hi Maurizio,
what a lovely moth. so big and so well detailed pattern on the wings, and wings are well spread.
very outstanding composition.


Great light and fantastic warm tones for this graphic moth. Best compliments.


Hello Siegfried,
These huge moths, always generate Impress photos, you have done an exceptional job with excellent POV and inpressive record of shapes and textures of the fantastic wings. TFS, Regards, Jesús

  • Great 
  • briGG Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 195 W: 2 N: 344] (1823)
  • [2010-05-26 12:03]
  • [+]

Hello Siggi,

Excellent... this Atlas moth takes in Netherlands, in Zeeland!
I go often there, and I have never seen this beautiful Moth!
Where do you have seen this????



  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2010-05-28 17:30]

Stunning shot Siegfried!!!
This is a real beauty which reminds me of our Cecropia moths here in Ohio. Love the close-up composition you chose, it gives us a good look at the intricate patterns and attractive colors in it's wings. Super job!!!

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