Stratford's most famous moth lives its final days - The Stratford Observer
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8th Aug, 2022

Stratford's most famous moth lives its final days

Laura Kearns 26th Oct, 2018

ANDY Warhol once famously said everyone would be famous for 15 minutes – but a moth at Stratford Butterfly Farm managed rather longer.

Sadly, the Atlas moth which hit national headlines after being taken as a cocoon from the Swan’s Nest lane attraction, is no more.

The cocoon hatched open at teenager Paige Firkin’s Birmingham home, where she caused a social media storm after posting a picture of the native south east Asian insect – which she thought was a butterfly – in an ornamental bird-like cage.

Bosses at the butterfly farm demanded the return of the moth – one of the world’s largest with a wingspan of around 30cm – which only have a lifespan of around a week.

The moth was returned after being collected from Paige’s home by Warwickshire Police, who gave her a ‘community resolution’ – which is basically a telling off but does not result in a prosecution.

The male moth lived out the rest of its days at the butterfly farm where it died on Sunday October 21.

Staff say there was a female Atlas moth in the enclosure but they had not mated.

A spokeswoman told the Observer: “It was discovered on that the moth had come to the end of its natural life cycle during Sunday evening.

“The moth was male and even though we did have a female they did not successfully pair.

“An adult moth usually lives for about seven to ten days so we were very happy the moth could live out the rest of its lifecycle at the Butterfly Farm.”

The Atlas moth is most commonly found in Thailand and the Philippines. They emerge from a silken cocoon and then have up to ten days to find a mate and lay up to 300 eggs for next generation. They do not have mouths and instead live on energy reserves obtained from food while a caterpillar.

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