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10 of the largest insects in the world

By: Bryan Nelson on Feb. 17, 2016, 10:30 a.m.
An atlas moth on a human hand.

Photo: rubengarciajrphotography/flickr

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Atlas moth

Common across the Malay archipelago, these bird-sized insects are considered the largest moths in the world. They are so big that their cocoons are occasionally used as purses in Taiwan.

The total area of their wings can measure more than 60 square inches and their wingspans can measure at least 1 foot in length. Atlas caterpillars can be over 1 inch thick!

Some say the moth is named after Atlas, in Greek mythology. He was the Titan condemned by Zeus to hold the sky upon his shoulders. The name refers to the sheer vastness of the moth's size.