An image of a “winged tarantula” that went viral on social media has been exposed as a real insect – but in fact a type of moth and not a spider at all.
Facebook page @stamamalon, a blog with 2.8 million followers, posted the creepy picture on 21st October, with the caption: “Antheraea Polyphemus, basically a tarantula with wings”.
The photo of the hairy insect with wings racked up 36,000 reactions, 22,000 comments and 58,000 shares.
But the Latin name coupled with the interpretation of what it really proved misleading because Antheraea Polyphemus is actually a silk moth.
Most commentators though only saw the word tarantula.
Netizen Vetin Moralez commented: “2020 can’t surprise us any more, a flying tarantula”.
Another netizen, Maria Camila Lobato, commented: “It’s enough for me that cockroaches can fly”.
Despite the panic generated, the species is not, in fact, a tarantula, or even an arachnid. Its common name is the Polyphemus moth and it is found throughout continental North America. It is unclear where specifically in North America the photo was taken.
The Polyphemus moth is harmless to humans. However, with an average wingspan of 15 centimeters (6 inches) and its unusual body, it still has the ability to pack a fright.
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Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Joana Mihajlovska, Agency: Newsflash
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