Creatonotos gangis: Weird Insect Intrigues Facebook Users

Creatonotos gangis: Weird Insect Intrigues Facebook Users

HAIR-RAISING images and video have emerged of an insect that looks like something out of a Hollywood horror movie. And it lives in Australia.

Let’s be honest, with its pulsating back “legs”, the critter is enough to give anyone who already has a fear of creepy crawlies the complete heebie-jeebies.

Even worse, you can find it in Australia.

But fear not, people, what appears to be a mutated product of horror movie fantasies – which is presumably why a Facebook user Gandik posted a video of it – is apparently just a moth.

Or, to go by its proper name: creatonotos gangis.

Found in Indonesia (where it was filmed by Gandik), India, Sri Lanka, Japan, Thailand and New Guinea, “gangis” (as we’ll nickname him) also lives in northern parts of WA, the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Gangis is known for wreaking havoc on pomegranate trees and produces pheromones to try and attract mates.

Which is where those weird, hairy tentacles at the back come into play. Known as coremata, they are scent organs used to produce the pheromone hydroxydanaidal.
Alien he may not be but gangis does have one unusual characteristic. He apparently particularly likes to feed on plants that are high in pyrrolizidine alkaloids (bitter tasting, potentially toxic and thereby not fancied by other feeders) because it helps him give off those pheromones.

So far as we can tell, he doesn’t bite!

The British Journal Editors and Wire Services




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