12 Beautiful Moths With Gorgeous Appearance


To me, beautiful moths are the ones with nice colors, patterns, and shapes. I think you probably think the same as well, and we are going to look at some gorgeous ones today. After some time, I have found 12 beautiful moths with attractive colors and patterns that are super eye-catching. If you are a fan of moths, you probably know many of them on the list below. Let’s check them out and let me know which one you like the most.

1Atlas Moth

As you can see, the coloration and patterns of the atlas moths are very precise and neat to look at. The upper side of the wings is reddish brown, and there is a pattern of black, pink, purple, and white lines. Along with that, there are also triangular and scale-less windows bordered in black on each of its 4 wings as well. However, the best part is definitely the 3D snake head mimicry that this moth species possesses. The markings on the upper corner of their wings actually bear an uncanny resemblance to cobra heads. When feels threatened, it slowly moves its wings to mimic a snake to keep potential predators away.

An atlas moth is one of the largest winged insects in the world, with a wingspan of up to 24 centimeters. Despite the large wings, these moths are weak and unsteady fliers which is ironic. So they rest during the day in order to conserve energy, and they only fly at night. Not different from other moths out there, this one also lacks fully formed mouthparts as well so adults cannot eat. And as you probably already can tell, that simply means the lifestyle of an adult atlas moth is only a few days. The only duty and life purpose of adults is seeking out a mate, so food is not really necessary.

This beautiful moth species is endemic to Asia, living in dry tropical forests, secondary forests, and shrublands. Atlas moth caterpillars produce silk that is similar to the silk from silkworms. Across their range, people use silk from their cocoons to make various products such as scarves, shirts, small purses, and ties. The color of the silk depends on the plants that the caterpillars eat, and it ranges from tan to brown.

2Cecropia Moth

Here you are looking at North America’s largest native moth, and one of the most beautiful moth species too. It has a chubby and hairy red body with a wingspan of 13 centimeters up to 18 centimeters or even more. The wings of these moths are brownish with vibrant red near of the base of the forewing. And the pretty part is the crescent-shaped spots of red with whitish centers on all 4 wings of the moth. The contrast of the pattern of the colors such as black, gray, red, tan, and white is like a work of art. And this moth species also has eyespot and shape that resemble a snake head to keep potential predators away.

The distribution of cecropia moth is across the continent, inhabiting hardwood forests in both Canada and the United States. It is also very common to come across these large moths because they are attracted to porch and street lights. Along with that, they also live in open areas with trees since they need leaves for their caterpillars to feed on.

3Cinnabar Moth

image: nutmeg66

This one is my personal favorite, mainly because of the coloration of this gorgeous moth. While this moth is easy to recognize, it is rather small since its wingspan is only 3.4 to 4.6 centimeters. It got its name from the red mineral cinnabar because of the red markings on its black wings. However, there are also species with yellow while sometimes the wings are completely black. The unique coloration serves as a warning to predators that they are dangerous to eat, yes these moths are poisonous. Due to their consumption of ragwort plants, the poison simply builds up in their body. This unique diet is actually good because it helps control the dangerous plants which keeps livestock safe.

The cinnabar moth is native to Europe, Central Asia, and Western Asia then east all the to China. You will also find them in Australia, New Zealand, and North America due to the introduction years ago. Their common habitats are gardens, railway banks, waste ground, and woodland rides. Just like other moth species, this one also flies after dark so they spend their daytime hiding. The unique thing is that they also fly during the day sometimes and it is very common to mistake them for butterflies.

4Eight-Spotted Forester Moth

Don’t you love it when a moth is born pretty with some extra accessories on their legs like that? At a glance, an eight-spotted forester moth looks like a butterfly due to its antennae and wings. This is a little moth with a wingspan of just 2.5 to 3.8 centimeters, and it has an overall black body. The wings are also black but there are two spots on each wing with shades of cream, yellow, and white. Their colorful body and wings are one thing, and those orange-red leg hairs are also very hard to miss. This is not something common in moths, and this beautiful moth species is just so unique.

While most moths have little to no mouth, this one is rather lucky. Adults have normal mouthparts which they use to feed on nectar from flowers of herbaceous plants, and they fly during the day! The eight-spotted forester moths live in open areas with flowers near woodland edges where their host plants grow.

5Emperor Moth

Oh the beauty, looking at how majestic this beautiful moth species is! The details are so flawless no matter what angle you look from, it is always stunning. An emperor moth’s wingspan is around 6 centimeters, and the forewings are brown and white with orange and red fascia. Females are larger than males so their wingspans can be up to 10 centimeters; however, their colors are paler than males. Besides the colors, the other things that stand out are the bold black and orange eye spots that are so eye-catching. Their common habitats are fens, field margins, heathlands, hedgerows, mature sand dunes, moorland bogs, woodland rides, and other scrubby places. What is fascinating is that males fly rapidly during the day looking for sluggish females that usually only fly at night.

6Giant Silkworm Moth

Just like the name suggests, giant silkworm moths are very large moth species. It is hard to miss when coming across one of these beautiful moth species, both the large size and striking colors are magnificent. A giant silkworm moth has a stout and hairy body with feathery antennae, and both the body and wings are colorful. This moth species is common in deciduous forests and wooded areas where their favorite plants are common. Their caterpillars feed on a number of plants such as honey locusts, hickories, maples, oaks, persimmon, sassafras, sweet gum, sycamore, and willows.

7Hercules Moth

An adult Hercules moth has a wingspan of around 27 centimeters which is larger than any moths out there. Though not colorful, the coloration of this beautiful moth species is still pretty in its way. The main color of the moth is golden brown with little white markings along with transparent spots on each wing. One of the most stunning parts is that males have longer and slimmer tails on their wings than females. On top of that, males also have thicker antennae while females have thin and thread-like antennae instead. The Hercules moth is endemic to New Guinea and Northern Australia, living in rainforests of tropical regions there. Their current threat at the moment is habitat reduction due to human encroachment.

8Luna Moth

image: rawpixel

Anything green is very pleasant to look at, and luna moth is the perfect example of that. A luna moth has a combination of lime green body and wings with white borders on the wings. It looks small when resting, the beauty shows the moment this moth spreads its wings. The wingspan of a luna moth is anywhere from 11 to 17 centimeters, making it one of the largest moths in North America. They are common in deciduous woodlands where their favorite plants such as hickories, persimmons, sweet gums, and walnuts are abundant.

More About Luna Moths

9Madagascan Sunset Moth

The list of beautiful moth species is definitely incomplete without the Madagascan sunset moth, this coloration is out of this world. This moth has a wingspan of 7 to 9 centimeters, and there are also individuals whose wingspan is 11 centimeters. A Madagascan sunset moth is black in color with iridescent blue, green, orange, red, and yellow markings. If you look closely, you will also see that this moth has 6 tails but are often damaged or lost. Madagascan sunset moths are day-flying, and their bright coloration is also a warning to predators that they are toxic to consume. Endemic to Madagascar, their population is spread across the island wherever their host plants are common.

10Mulberry Silk Moth

How can you resist that cute little face? While most beautiful moth species out there are colorful, this one proves that one color can be gorgeous too. A mulberry silk moth is a small moth with a wingspan of only around 3 to 5 centimeters. It has a white hairy body with beautiful black eyes and long antennae that look so perfect altogether. When it comes to mulberry silk moths, things are more than just beauty as they are both very useful and valuable insects. As a silkworm, the pupae of this species are very important sources of silk. The pupae are edible insects so they are common snacks in some countries such as China, India, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.

11Rosy Maple Moth

Looks exactly like the mulberry silk moths but more colorful, the rosy maple moth is one of a kind. A rosy maple moth has a wooly body that is pink and yellow in color, looking absolutely fluffy. However, the coloration can also vary from cream or white to bright pink or yellow. You can tell the males from females by the bushy antennae that are absent in females. It is a little moth with a wingspan of 3.2 to 5 centimeters, and the combination of the colors just looks so good. Despite being colorful, it is just a trick because this moth is not toxic to consume. So their common predators are birds such as black-capped chickadees, blue jays, and tufted titmice.

As for this beautiful moth species, it lives across the Eastern United States and adjacent regions of Canada. They inhabit temperate deciduous forests as well as nearby suburban areas and urban landscapes. Just like the name suggests, their favorite trees are maple trees such as box elder maples, red maples, silver maples, and sugar maples. Occasionally, they also lay their eggs on oak trees in some areas where maple trees are not common. Now, their population is threatened by climate change, habitat loss, herbicides, light pollution, and pesticides.

12Swallowtail Moth

I don’t know about you but this moth gives me the angelic vibe, and it is just so pleasant to look at. A swallowtail moth is actually pale yellow in color but it fades to white as it ages. Another distinctive feature is the two darker lines crossing its forewings and one line that crosses its hindwings. So unique, right? The most beautiful part is the little pointy projection on each hindwing that resembles a tail; hence the name. On average, a swallowtail moth’s wingspan is from 5 to 6 centimeters, and they live in hedgerows, gardens, parks, and woodlands.

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