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  • World’s Largest Moth Makes Rare Appearance Inside Judy Istock Butterfly Haven

    Created: 11/1/2016      Updated: 11/1/2016

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    Atlas moth on bird feeder

    For the next week, guests at the Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum will have the opportunity to see the world’s largest moth. The Atlas Moth recently arrived from Malaysia and will join the charismatic Birdwing Butterfly, Blue Morpho and 1,000 fluttering friends in our signature attraction.

    The Judy Istock Butterfly Haven features more than 40 different types of butterflies and a variety of unique birds in a serene and colorful space featuring pools of water, flowers and tropical trees.

    The Atlas Moth – whose wingspan extends averages 9 inches—is also larger than any species of butterfly. The Atlas Moth is much easier to see and photograph than the typical butterfly or moth because it spends most of its time perched on vegetation. Its wings feature shades of brown and cream with some red markings and the outer tips resemble the head of a snake.

    Some facts about Atlas Moths include:

    • Their large cocoons are used as purses in Taiwan because they are made of such sturdy silk.
    • Atlas Moths have no functional mouth and don’t eat as adults. They live on their fat reserves and their lifespan (1-2 weeks) is shorter than the average butterfly/moth.
    • Once they emerge from their cocoon, they never close their wings.

    Animated image of Atlas moth flapping its wings

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