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Butterflies are iconic and symbolic. These amazing transformational insects represent a special meaning to a lot of people.

Butterflies and butterfly designs on t-shirts, hats, mugs, tote bags, sneakers, magnets, stickers, aprons, mouse pads, speakers, and more.

Atlas Moth

The Atlas moth is the world's largest moth in that it has a total wing surface area of up to 62 square inches. It also has one of the largest wingspans of all the moths in the world, measuring over 10 inches long. The Atlas moth derives its name, quite appropriately, from the Titan Atlas of Greek Mythology, a huge deity supposedly responsible for holding the planet Earth on his shoulders. Size varies within the species in that female Atlas moths are significantly larger and heavier than males.

Atlas moths tend to be yellow- or orange-brown to maroon in color. The patterns found on their wings may vary significantly between moths, except for four figures outlined in black that many see as "eyes." These "eyes," common to all Atlas moths, most likely make the Atlas moth appear larger, more intimidating, and watchful of any potential predators.

Atlas moths generally live in tropical and subtropical forests, particularly broadleaf forests, and shrublands. They tend to be fairly passive members of the food webs of their ecosystems, being preyed upon by other organisms. In addition to the "eye" pattern found on the wings of adult Atlas moths, Atlas moth caterpillars are able to secrete a strong-smelling substance a relatively far distance to repel any predators and combat their susceptibility to otherwise being prey.

The earlier parts of the Atlas moth's life cycle are fairly characteristic of those of the average butterfly or moth. A parent moth lays several sphere-shaped eggs on the underside of a leaf. Once these eggs have hatched, larvae voraciously consume just about every leaf they encounter. As larvae, Atlas moths are light in colour, and their backs are covered with prominent, fleshy spine-like structures that are covered in a white, waxy substance. Once larvae are fully grown, they form chrysalises in which they develop into an adult Atlas moth.

Atlas moths lead short and fairly uninvolved adult lives, surviving only one to two weeks each after emerging from their respective chrysalises. Females tend not to travel far from the site at which they became adult butterflies, and produce and secrete pheromones that attract males to them. Despite Atlas moths' being fairly poor and unstable fliers, male moths will find and fly to mates by tracking pheromones. Adult Atlas moths also have no mouths as adult moths, and subsist on only larval fat during their brief adult lives.

Atlas moths are most commonly found in the Malay Archipelago, and also reside in Southeast Asia and Brazil. Atlas moths are also cultivated in India so that their silk may be harvested, as their silk is known to yield a more durable fabric than that of silkworms does. Their cocoons have also been used as purses in Taiwan.

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