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Tropical Atlas moth spotted in US is believed to be the first

One of the world’s largest moths has been seen for the first time in the northern US – and the gentle fire-winged giant is making a flap.

The striking 25cm-wide moth was discovered in a homeowner’s garage in Bellevue, a city about 16 kilometers east of Seattle.

It’s hard to miss, with a wingspan as wide as a dinner plate.

It is believed that this is the first atlas discovered in the United States and it is made even for non-insects.

Sven Spichiger, entomologist for Washington State, said: ‘This is a ‘weird’ insect because it is so large.

“Even if you don’t notice insects, this is the way people take out their phones and take pictures – they stand out.”

No danger to humans

No further information is available so far, but entomologists with the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) are asking the public to report any images of giant moths that do not pose a threat. threat to the public.

It’s not dangerous, just not native.

To date there is no evidence that a population of moths on the map was established in the southern US state of British Columbia.

The impressive insect was initially reported by a University of Washington professor to the state government on July 7.

After initial identification, the organism was sent to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which confirmed the specimen to be an atlas moth on July 27.

According to US authorities, this is believed to be the first confirmed discovery of a moth on a map in the country.

The sighting in Bellevue is believed to be the first confirmed sighting of a moth on a map in the country, according to US authorities. (Washington State Department of Agriculture)

The moth is considered a pest in the US

Residents are encouraged to photograph, collect and report on a map of moths if they are seen.

Atlas moths are named after Atlas, Titan in Greek mythology, a highlight for their impressive size.

They belong to the giant silkworm family and are also known as “snake-headed moths” because of the markings and extensions on the front wings of some species that resemble the eyes and head of a snake.

They are commonly found in Asia – from India, the Philippines and as far as Indonesia.

They are also a federally quarantined pest in the United States

It is illegal to collect, raise, or sell live moths as eggs, larvae, or pupae without USDA permit.

Entomologists believe that apple and cherry trees may harbor non-native insects.

“This is usually a tropical moth. We’re not sure it can survive here,” Spichiger said, noting that the USDA is gathering information to make response recommendations. .

“But in the meantime, we’re hoping residents will help us figure out if this is a one-time escape or if there’s actually a population in the area.”

Beauty is short-lived

There are moth enthusiasts clubs on social media that recommend people keep the species in their homes.

Moths only live long enough to mate and lay eggs – between five and 14 days – because they are born unable to eat and must survive on food reserves like a caterpillar.

The moth map overshadows other large moth species found in the United States according to this image from the Washington State Department of Agriculture. (Washington State Department of Agriculture)

The bluish-white caterpillars of the atlas moth have a distinctive red and blue spot on their hind paws.

Unlike moths, caterpillars are carnivores, preferring thorns, citrus, cinnamon and mangoes – and a species known as the Tree of Heaven.

But the caterpillars aren’t so picky that they won’t adapt to North American crops, which is why they’re of interest to agricultural agencies tasked with pest control.

The rusty brown to orange atlas moth’s wings can have yellow, red, purple, black and pink accents with triangular translucent windows.

Anyone who has seen this moth is encouraged to send photos and the location where it was discovered to pestprogram@agr.wa.gov for identification.

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