Top 15 Largest Moths In The World (2023)

Moths are frequent visitors in my area, which led me to question the existence of the largest moth on the planet.

While many people tend to think that butterflies are the epitome of beauty, moths are certainly not far behind. They come in a delightful array of colors, sizes, and patterns, with most adorned in soft, velvety fur – a feature that can sometimes act as their defense mechanism.

Therefore, today, I’ve prepared a list of the 15 largest moths in the world, ranked in ascending order.

Top 15 Largest Moths In The World

15) Owlet Moth

Genus Noctua
Size 0.8 to 30.5 cm
Identification Claviform and reniform stigmata on the forewings
Geographic Location Except for the Antarctic and everywhere else.

The Owlet moths belong to the family Noctuidae and showcase subtle shades of brown to vibrant tropical colors.

The larvae of these moths come in various colors and often have pudgy, round bodies with short heads.

While most are herbivores, some of them are also known to feed on brocade moths and sometimes moths from the same family.

14) Giant leopard Moth

Scientific Name Hypercompe scribonia
Size 1.2–2 inches
Identification White wings with black blotches
Geographic Location North America

The giant leopard moth is like the Dalmatian of the moth world, with its bright white wings adorned with black blotches.

Adult giant leopard moths are nocturnal; they don’t take flight until the stars are out.

You can find them throughout North America, from the southern reaches of Ontario and the eastern United States to as far south as Colombia.

13) Sphinx moths

Family Sphingidae
Size 4 to 10+ centimeters
Identification Long proboscis with distinct markings on their wings
Geographic Location Present all around the world

Sphinx moths, also known as hawk moths are so skilled at hovering in midair while sipping nectar from flowers that they’re often mistaken for hummingbirds.

Some of these moths are among the fastest flyers in the insect kingdom, reaching speeds of over 5.3 meters per second.

They showcase a certain degree of sexual dimorphism in terms of their appearance. Males have thicker antennae and more mottled wing markings, while the females have their features muted.

Sphinx moth caterpillars have a unique resting position – they hold their legs off the surface and tuck their heads underneath, which closely resembles the famous Sphinx statue in Egypt.

12) Peacock Moth

Scientific Name Automeris io
Size 2.5 to 3.5 inches
Identification Distinct bright, distinct eyespots on the hindwings
Geographic Location North America

This moth showcases striking sexual dimorphism. The males have bright yellow attire, while the females seem to have reddish-brown to purple coats of hair.

Their larvae possess urticating spines that pack a painful punch with their venom. Even a gentle touch can lead to an irritating dermatitis called erucism.

Both male and female Io moths have big black to bluish eyespots with a hint of white on their hindwings.

When these moths feel threatened, they shake and reveal these eyespots in a dramatic way to evade their predators.

11) Splendid royal moth

Scientific Name Citheronia splendens
Size 4.2 to 5.9 inches
Identification Brownish forewings with cream-color spots on the edges
Geographic Location Southern Arizona and central and southeastern Mexico

Their eggs resemble bird droppings in a way of blending into the plant leaves and evading potential predators.

The splendid royal moth was first described by Herbert Druce in 1886.

In September, they burrow themselves underground and enter the pupa stage.

In their adult stage, they are known to feed on plants like Gossypium thurberi, Rhus trilobata, Arctostaphylos pungens, and Rhus choriophylla.

10) Luna Moth

Scientific Name Actias luna
Size 4.5 to 7 inches
Identification Vibrant lime-green wings with white body and long tails
Geographic Location North America

The Luna moth, also known as the American moon moth has lime-green wings with a white body and long, delicate tails extending from the hindwings.

As they mature, they develop colorful dots, like yellow or magenta, along their bodies.

They are nocturnal and only reveal themselves at night.

The adult moth’s life lasts a mere 7-10 days, and during this time, they don’t eat. Instead, they rely on energy stored up during their caterpillar days.

9) Polyphemus Moth

Scientific Name Antheraea polyphemus
Size Around 6 inches
Identification Tan-colored wings with grape-sized eyespots on its hindwings.
Geographic Location North America

Their name is inspired by the Greek myth of the one-eyed giant Polyphemus because of the purplish eyespots on its hindwings.

Polyphemus moths have a big appetite, they can chow down a whopping 86,000 times their weight in less than two months.

Like the Cecropia moth, the male Polyphemus moth uses their ‘plumose’ antennas to detect the female pheromones.

They pump their wings with a special fluid, kind of like filling up a gas tank before they take off.

8) Royal Walnut Moth

Scientific Name Citheronia regalis
Size 3.75 to 6.1 inches
Identification The caterpillar has black-tipped red horns
Geographic Location Commonly found in South America

The Royal walnut moth is nocturnal and feeds itself during the night.

Their caterpillar stage, the hickory horned devils, start as something similar to a bird dropping but later become striking green creatures with black-tipped red horns.

Before turning into pupae, they expel their guts, shift from green to turquoise, and turn shiny as they prep for pupation.

7) Cecropia Moth

Scientific Name Hyalophora cecropia
Size 5 to 7 inches
Identification Wings are brownish with red near the base of the forewings.
Geographic Location North America

Cecropia Moth is known to be the largest native moth found in North America.

When it’s time to mate, the female cecropia moth releases pheromones, and the males, with their feathery antennae, can pick up on the scent from miles away.

The cecropia caterpillars start as black caterpillars with little hair, then switch to a yellow-green coloration, and finally, they go all out with a bluish-green hue.

6) Imperial Moth

Scientific Name Eacles imperialis
Size 3 to 7 inches
Identification It is known for its vibrant and diverse colors, with red, brown, and purple patterns on a yellow body.
Geographic Location East of South America and North America

The imperial moth comes in a range of colors like yellow, red, brown, and purple.

Their larvae molt and transform into their next stage by shedding their old skin and recycling the old exoskeleton for nutrients.

They’re found from Argentina to Canada, stretching from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Coast.

5) Giant peacock Moth

Scientific Name Saturnia pyri
Size Around 8 inches
Identification Their wings resemble the mesmerizing patterns of a peacock’s tail feathers.
Geographic Location Across Europe and some parts of the United Kingdom

The giant peacock moth has a wingspan that can reach a whopping 20 cm and stands out with its spectacular peacock-like pattern on its forewings.

This species of butterfly was first described by Michael Denis and Ignaz Schiffermüller in 1775.

This butterfly is a wanderer, traveling from Spain to Bulgaria, Greece to Russia, and even making appearances in Siberia and North Africa.

4) Giant Wood Moth

Scientific Name Endoxyla cinereus
Size Around 9.8 inches
Identification Their larvae create a buzzing sound while digging into the wood.
Geographic Location Australia, specifically in Queensland and New South Wales

The Giant wood moth holds the title for being the heaviest moth on the planet, tipping the scales at up to 30 grams.

These larvae tunnel into Eucalyptus trees, creating mysterious buzzing sounds in the Australian bush.

You can spot this moth in Australia, particularly in Queensland and New South Wales, as well as in New Zealand.

3) Atlas Moth

Scientific Name Attacus atlas
Size Wingspan of around 9.4 inches
Identification Massive wings with intricate patterns
Geographic Location Endemic to forests in Asia

The Atlas moth has an incredible wingspan that can stretch up to a mind-boggling 24 centimeters, making it one of the largest lepidopterans on the planet.

Like many silk moths, the Atlas moth produces precious fabric, but in this case, the threads are more about self-defense.

Carl Linnaeus himself described this moth in his 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae.

2) White Witch

Scientific Name Thysania agrippina
Size Up to 12 in
Identification Distinct yellow circular markings on white wings
Geographic Location Uruguay to Mexico, and sometimes as far north as Texas in the USA

Doesn’t the name remind you of broomsticks and frail witches riding on it? Well, let not the name distract you as it’s one the largest insects in the world.

They make their journey from Uruguay to Mexico, and sometimes, they decide to go even farther north to Texas, USA.

Despite being around for over 300 years, no one has ever documented its young stages, making it a creature of mystery.

1) Hercules Moth

Scientific Name Coscinocera hercules
Size up to 14.5 inches
Identification Golden-brown and white wings with distinctive transparent spots.
Geographic Location Native to New Guinea and northern Australia

With a wingspan that stretches up to 27 centimeters, it is known to be the largest moth present in Australia.

Males have long, slim tails, which sets them apart from the female Hercules moth.

Hercules moth larvae grow to a whopping 12 centimeters (around 4.7 inches) and can weigh about 54 grams in their final instar.


We’ve reached the conclusion of another exploration into the vibrant and mysterious world of insects. From the smallest moths to the largest, we’ve delved into it all for you to quench your thirst for knowledge. Stay tuned as we continue to bring you intriguing and captivating content every day.



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