The Atlas moths
Also known as the Emperor Moths, or Silkmoths these are the largest and most spectacular species of moth to be found in Hong Kong.
Females are slightly larger, and can have a wingspan up to 25cm.
The atlas moth defends itself by imitating a snake’s appearance and even behaviour. It has a convincing pattern on its wings, and it will also fall to the ground and flap around to look like a writhing snake. These similarities are so striking that in China, the Cantonese name for this mighty moth translates to 'snake's head moth' As well as their resemblance to a cobra's head, the moth gets its name because its wing patterns are said to resemble maps.
Much more common is the Lesser Atlas Moth pictured to the right, which is somewhat smaller and with more rounded wings.