Australian Woman Photographs Moth Larger Than Her Hand

An Australian woman recently took to Facebook to share photos of a giant moth she stumbled across in outside of Brisbane.

Pam Taylor posted the first photos of the frighteningly large insect on the Amateur Entomology Australia group, on February 23. The pics showed a huge grey moth clinging to a tree branch. To show just how large the moth really was, the woman also photographed it next to her open palm. Obviously, the photos got a lot of attention from the other amateur entomologists, many of whom recognized the insect as a specimen of Endoxyla Cinereus, or the Giant Wood Moth.

Photo: Pam Taylor/Facebook

The name is pretty self-explanatory, but I for one never knew moths got this big. Apparently, this is the heaviest moth species in the world, with some specimens weighing up to 30 grams, and can have a wingspan of up to 25 centimeters.

“Holy cow that’s spectacular!” one member of the Amateur Entomology Australia Facebook Group commented.

Photo: Pam Taylor/Facebook

“It’s a bird, it’s a plane….. sorry couldn’t resist. I never imagined we had moths that big in Australia, it’s beautiful,” someone else wrote.

Pam later updated her post, adding new photos that now showed two of these giant moths. Apparently, despite a rough, stormy night, the gigantic moth managed to find a mating partner. Interestingly, the larger specimen is the female.

Photo: Pam Taylor/Facebook

“I went to check on him this morning to see if he survived the storm last night…. he definitely kept himself busy!… UPDATE! the largest moth is the female not the male!!!” Taylor wrote.

Going through the comments, I learned that these magnificent creatures are also known as “storm moths” or “rain moths”. Apparently, they have no mouth and only live for a short time after hatching, so to increase the chances of finding a mate they rely on weather to coordinate.

Photo: Pam Taylor/Facebook

Endoxyla Cinereus moths are quite common in coastal Australia, although such behemoths as the one immortalized by Pam Taylor are very rare.