Have you seen this absolutely massive moth?
The Washington State Department of Agriculture is asking residents to be on the lookout after an Atlas moth was found in Bellevue. It shouldn’t be hard to spot one: the Atlas moth is one of the largest known moths in the world, with a wingspan of up to 10 inches.
Read on for everything you need to know about this unique moth sighting!
The moth was initially discovered in July, and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Investigation Service confirmed it to be an Atlas moth. They are typically found in tropical regions and have never been sighted in the United States before.
So how did this Atlas moth end up in Bellevue? According to the Seattle Times, it is likely that it originated from a Bellevue resident who was selling Atlas moth cocoons on eBay. The listing has been removed. Atlas moths are federally quarantined pests, meaning that it is illegal to own or sell one without a permit.
The sighted moth has since been captured, but the Washington State Department of Agriculture is asking the public to keep the eye out for any additional Atlas moths in the area. If you spot one, take a photo and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org along with the location. Although harmless to humans, these moths can pose a threat to the area’s fruit-growing industry.