A moth with a 10-inch wingspan has been spotted for the first time in the United States, prompting residents to report further sightings, according to the Washington State Department of Agriculture.
The Atlas moth, considered one of the world’s largest moths, was first reported to state officials last month by a professor at the University of Washington.
This moth was sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where it was confirmed to be an Atlas moth.Believed to be the first moth discovered in the United States
“Because it’s so big, it’s a ‘genius’ type of insect,” said Sven Spichiger, managing entomologist at the State Agriculture Department. “Even if you don’t care about insects, this is the type of thing where people pull out their phones and take pictures. They are very impressive.”
And that’s exactly what Washington farmers are asking people to do to be able to determine if there’s an Atlas moth population.
“This is typically a tropical moth. I don’t know if it can survive here,” Spikiger said. “We hope residents can help us find out if this was a one-off fugitive or if there is actually a population in the area.”
Little is known about moths. Entomologists believe its host plants are cherry and apple trees.