Are Atlas moths popular with birds?

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates | 1

Do birds eat Atlas moth (Attacus atlas)? An earlier post LINK reported a Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush (Garrulax mitratus) tackling an atlas moth. We have no other information.

Can it be that the Atlas moth scares away potential predators with its pair of eye spots at the apical extensions of the forewings? When disturbed, these end pieces vibrate, giving the illusion of a pair of snakes about to strike.

The eyespots also help deflect predators from targeting the body. This was exactly what happened a week ago when a male Atlas moth that newly emerged from its pupal case was placed in a tree in my garden. A curious Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus) approached the moth and the latter vibrated its wings. The myna pecked on one of the eyespots and then left the moth alone, damaging the wing tip.

If anyone has any encounter with birds taking Atlas moths, we would be happy to post them here.

YC Wee
June 2012

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