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25th October 2013

Last chance to see Giant Atlas Moths this year!

Visitors to the Stratford Butterfly Farm will be able to see up to 50 stunning Giant Atlas Moths before they hibernate for the winter during the October half term. The Giant Moth is considered to be the largest moth in the world with a wingspan of up to 30cms. Scientifically known as Attacus atlas, the moth originates from South East Asia.

Visitors to the Stratford Butterfly Farm will be able to see up to 50 stunning Giant Atlas Moths before they hibernate for the winter during the October half term. The Giant Moth is considered to be the largest moth in the world with a wingspan of up to 30cms. Scientifically known as Attacus atlas, the moth originates from South East Asia.

Atlas Moths, as with all types of silk moth, do not feed as adults and rely entirely upon the reserves built up in the larval stage. The adult stage is therefore almost entirely devoted to reproduction. Females attract males by secreting a pheromone through a gland at the bottom of their abdomen. The male Atlas moth has huge long feathery antennae which detect the pheromone and enable the female to be quickly located. The moths can then remain paired for 24 hours or more. Once separated the female begins egg laying over a period of a few days. This is the last act of her relatively short adult life.

Atlas moth larvae are one of the easier species to feed. Caterpillars hatch after about 2 weeks and feed voraciously. As they pass through the 5 instars they change from yellowish to a white/green and become covered in a powdery white substance. They will readily accept a wide variety of leaves, in captivity they do well on common privet.

As well as seeing the giant moths, children can meet and handle the mini-beasts at 11:30am and 2:30pm each day and take part in the Jungle Explorers Trail during half term. The trail will take children on an exciting journey around the Butterfly Farm to discover interesting facts and amazing creatures from around the world.