Hanoi woman finds gaint, possibly rare moth

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A moth caught by a Hanoi woman has a wingspan of 30 centimeters.

A woman in Hanoi has caught a moth with a 30 centimeter wingspan, among the longest reported in the world, news website VietNamNet reported Friday.

Dang Anh Tuyet of Gia Lam District in Hanoi outskirts said the moth flew from the garden into her house at night several days ago. She released it back to the garden, after neighbors stopped her from making a specimen of it.

Tuyet said the moth kept coming back and resting on a piece of "ngoc am", a precious kind of timber from the cypress family, in their house.

Dao Van Thuy, a neighbor, said he saw a very big worm on a tree in front of their houses several days ago.

"It made noises while eating leaves," Thuy told VietNamNet.

Some locals say the butterfly belongs to the Atlas moth species, which is considered the largest in the world in terms of total wing surface area, with wingspans reaching more than 25 centimeters (10 inches).

They said the moths used to be found in the village in the 1990s, but disappeared after locals began using a lot of pesticides in their orchards.

The atlas moth is one of three moth species listed in Vietnam's Red Book as "rare" and could be endangered.

Several years ago, people in Phitsanulok, Thailand, found an Atlas month with wingspan of 27 centimeters. Scientists in Indonesia in 1922 also found with a 26.2 centimeter wingspan. An Atlas moth specimen can fetch several hundred dollars in Europe, the report said.

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