Story at a glance

  • Builders working at a school next to a rainforest in Queensland found a rare giant wood moth.
  • The giant wood moth can weigh up to 30 grams, with a wingspan of 9 inches.
  • The builders took a photo before releasing the giant wood moth into the rainforest.

Builders were treated to a rare sight when they found a giant wood moth at a Queensland school next to a rainforest where they were building new classrooms.

Found at the Mount Cotton State School in Australia, the giant wood moth, which is the heaviest moth in the world, had a wingspan measuring up to 9 inches.


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Commonly found along the coasts of Queensland and New South Wales, female giant wood moths can weigh close to 30 grams, while males are typically half the size.

It isn’t common to see giant wood moths, as they live inside trees for about a year as grubs until they reach adulthood, and when they emerge as moths they only live a few days, dying after they mate and lay eggs. 

About 60 species of wood moth can be found in Australia, but most aren’t as big as the giant wood moth.

The school’s principal, Meagan Steward, said the school’s location near a rainforest means teachers and students have seen a wide range of animals on campus, including bush turkeys, wallabies, koalas, snakes and even a turtle in the school library, but the giant wood moth was a first. 

“A giant wood moth was not something we had seen before,” she said.

After taking a photo with the rare insect, the builders released the moth into the rainforest.


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Published on May 05, 2021