The World Atlas
So today was a visit to the zoo… London Zoo to be specific, and if I’m brutally honest I wasn’t too impressed. Although naturally they claim to do their bit, I really don’t think that, in todays more modern approach to zoo-keeping, that the space and environment these “wild” animals require to live a relatively content life is really sufficient at London Zoo… Just my opinion, but it kinda saddens me to see them confined in such a way…
On a lighter note though, I was impressed by one particular resident of the butterfly house… Initially I dismissed them (about 6 of them) as models, as they were HUUUUUGE….. and when I say huge I mean “HUGE”… The wingspan must have been 8 – 10 inches…. I was studying them all hanging there on these cocoons, when one of them moved !!!…. That was when I had to step back a few feet, not cos I was scared… lol.. but to take a shot, just so I could actually fit one in the viewfinder…
So they’re Atlas Moths, and regarded as the worlds largest moths….
Here’s the science (wikipedia) bit…. ;)
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. 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.