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20 Cute and Colourful Moths

cute moth, giant leopard moth

Are you a fan of cute and cuddly creatures? Well, let me introduce you to the world of cute moths! These beautiful insects may not be as popular as their butterfly counterparts, but they are just as fascinating and adorable. From their intricate patterns and colours to their fluffy bodies and pretty faces, cute moths are a sight to behold.

Atlas Moth

atlas moth

The Atlas moth is a majestic and fascinating creature that will capture your attention. With its impressive wingspan of up to 27 cm (10.5 in), it is among the largest insects in the world. The reddish-brown wings of the Atlas Moth have triangular patterns outlined in black, making it a beautiful sight to behold. The atlas moth only lives for a short time, usually less than two weeks, during which it focuses on reproducing.

The atlas moth is named after the titan atlas from Greek mythology, who was said to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders. This is because the atlas moth’s wings are so large.

Southern Flannel Moth

southern flannel moth, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The southern flannel moth is small, measuring about 2.5 – 3.8 cm (1 – 1.5 in) long, and has a furry, woolly coat that is often described as looking like a piece of flannel. Its coat can be dull orange, brown, or lemon yellow. One of the identifying features of the Southern Flannel Moth is its fuzzy black feet.

While the adult moth is cute and fuzzy, the southern flannel moth’s caterpillar is something to avoid. Its hairs contain venom that can cause a painful reaction if they come into contact with your skin.

Rosy Maple Moth

rosy maple moth
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This North American moth is a member of the Saturniidae family, also known as the great silk moths. The rosy maple moth is known for its distinctive pink and yellow colouration, varying from cream or white to bright pink or yellow.

The rosy maple moth is a relatively small moth with a wingspan of only 3 – 5 cm (1.1 – 2 in). Its wings are covered in scales, which give them a fuzzy appearance. The moth’s body is also covered in fine hairs, which adds to its woolly appearance.

Io Moth

lo moth
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The io moth is easily recognisable due to its large, dramatic eyespots on its hind wings. The males are yellow with black markings, while the females are brown with white markings. Both sexes have large and clear eyespots on their hind wings, which they use to deter predators.

During the day, io moths lay still and camouflage themselves with their surroundings. If startled, they tuck their heads down and expose their eyespots, which can scare predators and give the moth a chance to escape.

Giant Leopard Moth

cute moth, giant leopard moth

This moth is easily recognised by its striking white wings with black-bordered or solidly black spots and its shimmery blue and orange abdomen. The giant leopard moth is distributed throughout North America, from southern Ontario to southern and eastern United States through New England, Mexico, and south to Colombia.

It is a member of the Erebidae family and was previously known as Ecpantheria scribonia. Despite its name, the giant leopard moth is not actually giant – it typically has a wingspan of around 5.6 – 9 cm (2.2 – 3.6 in).

Madagascan Sunset Moth

The Madagascan sunset moth is native to Madagascar, where it is found in the island’s rainforests. It has a wingspan of between 7 – 9 cm (2.8–3.5 in), and its wings combine of bright oranges, yellows, pinks, and purples. The colours are so vibrant that they almost glow in the sunlight.

The Madagascan sunset moth is that it is diurnal, which means it is active during the day. Most moths are nocturnal, so this unique characteristic sets this moth apart from others.

Luna Moth

luna moth
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

With its sea-foam green to yellow colour and long tails, it’s one of the most spectacular moths found in North America. Also known as the American moon moth, luna moths are common throughout South Carolina.

The luna moth has a wingspan of roughly 7.5 – 11 cm (3 – 4.5 in), making it one of the larger moths in North America. Its wings are lime-green coloured, and its body is white. The larvae (caterpillars) are also green.

Regal Moth

regal moth
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The regal moth, also known as the royal walnut moth, is a beautiful and majestic creature that can be found in North America. This moth is a member of the Saturniidae family and is known for its large size and striking appearance.

The adult regal moth has a wingspan of 9.5 – 15.5 cm (3.7 – 6 in) and is overall grey, tan, or slightly olive in colour. The forewings have orange or reddish-orange veins and pale yellow spots, while the hindwings are more orange and usually have a yellow patch at the base. The body of the regal moth appears furry and is orange with pale yellow markings.

Venezuelan Poodle Moth

Venezuelan poodle moth
Zivya, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This adorable insect was first photographed in 2009 by Kyrgyzstani zoologist Dr Arthur Anker in the Gran Sabana region of Venezuela. The poodle moth gets its name from its striking resemblance to a fluffy white poodle.

Despite its fluffy appearance, the Venezuelan poodle moth doesn’t have hair or fur. Its body is covered in a chitin layer, a material similar to the cellulose found in plant cell walls. The fluff you see on its body is made of soundproofing sugar, which helps muffle sounds and protects the moth from predators.

Garden Tiger Moth

garden tiger moth

The garden tiger moth is known for its striking black-and-white stripes and vibrant orange hindwings with blue-black spots. When disturbed, it can also produce a clear yellow fluid from two ducts just behind its head.

This moth prefers colder climates and can be found in the upper latitudes across North America, Europe, and Asia. It’s also commonly found in sand dunes, woodland edges, meadows, hedgerows, and gardens.

Madagascan Moon Moth

The Madagascan moon moth, also known as the comet moth, is a stunning and unique moth that only lives in Madagascar. Its one of the largest moths in the world, having a wingspan of up to 20 cm (7.8 in). The moth is known for its beautiful green and yellow colouring, with orange and red markings.

The Madagascan moon moth is also famous for its long and slender tails, which are longer in males than in females. These tails are believed to help the moths attract mates and confuse predators as they flutter around in the dark rainforest where they live.

Beautiful Wood-nymph

beautiful wood nymph
Wildreturn, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The beautiful wood nymph’s unique colouration resembles a bird dropping, which helps them blend into their surroundings and avoid predators.

Adults of this species have white and brown forewings that are folded like a roof over their yellow hindwings. The first pair of legs often have fluffy white hairs, which add to their cute appearance. The brown marks on the forewings are smooth and not scalloped, and there is a yellowish band between the forewings’ reddish-brown margin.

Emperor Moth

The emperor moth is a large, fluffy moth known for its beautiful markings and striking eyespots. This species can be found across Europe and is one of the most impressive moths in the UK. The male and female emperor moths are slightly different, with the female being larger and having a paler colour than the male.

The emperor moth has a wingspan of 10 cm (4 in) and an ornate wing pattern of colourful eyespots. These eyespots are used to intimidate potential predators and make the moth appear larger than it actually is. The emperor moth is the only large moth with eyespots on all four wings, making it easy to identify in the wild.

Cecropia Moth

cecropia moth

The cecropia moth is the largest in North America, with a wingspan of up to seven inches. The moth has a reddish-brown body with black-to-brown wings surrounded by white, red, and tan bands. The wings are adorned with large, circular eyespots that help deter predators.

It is named after the daughter of the god Saturn and the queen of the gods in Roman mythology. This is because the eyespots on some moths in the family have concentric rings reminiscent of the planet Saturn.

Green-banded Urania

green banded urania
LOPEZ André, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The green-banded urania, also known as Urania leilus, is a member of the Uraniidae family. It has a black body with bright green stripes that extend diagonally towards the front. The moth also has two tails that taper into thin points.

The green-banded urania usies its green stripes on its body help it blend in with the foliage in its natural habitat. This is a common adaptation among moths and butterflies, as it helps them avoid predators. The moth is also known for its distinctive flight pattern, which is fast and erratic.

False Tiger Moth

false tiger moth
Thomas Brown, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The false tiger moth is often mistaken for a butterfly due to its bright colouration, reminiscent of some swallowtail butterflies. The false tiger moth is found in tropical regions of South and Southeast Asia, including China, Myanmar, and Sumatra. Its wings have distinctive black and white markings, making it easy to spot in its natural habitat.

Elephant Hawk-moth

elephant hawk moth

The elephant hawk-moth is known for its pink and gold colours, which make it stand out from other moths. You can find them in gardens, parks, woods, and grassy habitats, especially during the months of May to August.

The elephant hawk-moth’s caterpillars are as cute as the adult moths. They have a distinct appearance, resembling an elephant’s trunk with eyespots to scare off predators. They feed on willowherb, bedstraw, and honeysuckle, so if you have these plants in your garden, you may be able to attract them.

Hornet Moth

hornet moth

This large moth is native to Europe and the Middle East but has also been introduced to North America. Its protective colouration is an example of Batesian mimicry, as its similarity to a hornet makes it unappealing to predators. The hornet moth is similar in appearance to the lunar hornet moth, but it can be told apart by the yellow patches on the head and shoulder and a black collar.

Japanese Silk Moth

Japanese silk moth
Christian Pirkl, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Japanese silk moth is known for producing rare and expensive tussar silk. It has large, fern-like antennae and a creamy white body with brown markings. The wingspan of the Japanese silk moth is 11 – 15 cm (4.3–5.9 in).

The Japanese silk moth has been farmed in Japan for over 1000 years. The white silk it produces is very strong and elastic but does not dye well. Because of this, it is now scarce and expensive.

Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth

narrow bordered bee hawk moth
Ilia Ustyantsev from Russia, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth is a day-flying moth that closely resembles a bumblebee. With its furry body, black and yellow stripes, and wings that beat rapidly as it hovers from flower to flower.

You can spot the narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth from mid-May to early July in moorlands, grasslands, and open woodlands where its caterpillar’s sole food plant, devil’s-bit scabious, grows in abundant patches. This species can be seen feeding on flowers such as bugle, louseworts and marsh thistle.