Atlas moths’ love season begins on Yonaguni Island

Atlas moths' love season begins on Yonaguni Island

Kotaro Matsumoto, a specialist at the Ayamihabiru Museum in Yonaguni, takes an atlas moth that freshly emerged in his hands, on April 19.

April 23, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

Thriving on Yonaguni island, the world’s largest Atlas moths have reached the time of emergence. They are called Ayamihabiru on Yonaguni Island. The Ayamihabiru Museum in Yonaguni displays a female moth that emerged on April 15, and a male that emerged on April 18. Visitors are surprised to see the large moths, which they often mistake for birds.

Atlas moths are designated as natural monuments by the Okinawa Prefectural Government. The Atlas moth has a wingspan of over 25 centimeters. Their adult lives are short. Male moths will survive only four days, and females will live for as long as nine days. They are nocturnal. Males fall apart overnight because they fly around, craving females.

Kotaro Matsumoto, a specialist at the Ayamihabiru Museum, said that the emergence of the moths started from the end of March, and it would continue until the end of April. The moth mating season takes place four times, from June to July, from August to September, and October to November.

“Atlas moths are well-known for their large body, but also they have a good-looking pattern. The white part of the feather is transparent and really beautiful,” said Matsumoto.

(English translation by T&CT)

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