The Atlas moth (Attacus atlas) is a large moth found in the tropical and subtropical forests in Asia. 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). Females are appreciably larger and heavier. 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.
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. 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 mm (4.5 inches), the caterpillars pupate within papery cocoon interwoven into desiccated leaves. The adult moths emerge after about four weeks.
This is a photograph of a male Atlas moth found in Kalady town on 15-10-10. In September 2009 also, there was a sighting of a male atlas moth from the nearby Onampilli.