A creature worthy of “Stranger Things” and looking like something straight out of The Upside Down appeared in the real world last month and has the internet freaking out. Maybe even more than when season 2 of “Stranger Things” came out.
Though not nearly as ferocious as a Demogorgon, this critter featured in a viral Facebook video somehow inspires just as much terror.
So, what is this ghastly beast?
It’s a moth, but definitely not your average moth.
An Indonesian man discovered this moth in his Central Java home. And instead of running for the hills like many would have done, he filmed it and shared the video on Facebook with the benign caption, “Just found a butterfly like this.”
People didn’t think the “butterfly” was quite ordinary, though.
The video now has more than 43 million views and upward of 80,000 shares. Check out the freaky film below to see what all the fuss is about:
Not a hoax or animatronic creation, this wacky winged thing is real.
A slew of knowledgeable commenters identified it as a male Creatonotos gangis moth. It is a species native to Southeast Asia and also found in parts of Australia.
Fair warning for anyone planning a trip to countries in those regions: You may cross paths with this strange moth and not even realize. It has a wingspan shy of 2 inches and fits on the tip of a finger.
The mysterious moth in the video instills fear in many who’ve watched it, but looks can be deceiving. This exotic critter is completely harmless, unless you eat it.
Startling yes, but not worth canceling a tropical vacation over. In fact, researchers observed the moth playing dead when disturbed. The four hairy tentacles, or coremata, protruding from the red-orange abdomen are made for romance not horror. The coremata emerge from the abdomen, inflate like balloons and emit pheromones to attract mates. Then, the moth waves the coremata to better spread the scent. Consider it the Champagne and oyster equivalent for moths.
As caterpillars, the Creatonotos gangis feed on plants with alkaloid chemicals that are poisonous to most other creatures. The more they eat, the longer and more alluring the coremata will be. At least to the lady moth, size does matter for the creatonotos gangis. Plus, their diet has an added protective effect. The caterpillar and moth both can cause upset stomachs for would-be predators.
Now knowing the real identity of the critter and its odd movements from the video, the wide range of reactions seems even more extreme and entertaining.
Some on Twitter are completely petrified.
Others are more open-minded.
I don’t see why people hate it so much, it’s fascinating how it can do this!
— Will Withers (@emperor_moth_) October 26, 2017
That's amazing and captivating. Isn't nature a wonderful and diverse thing? Never ceases to surprise you
— Becky Adams (@beckwhisksox) October 26, 2017
Whether the Facebook post inspired terror, curiosity or something in between for you, this moth is proof the natural world is pretty incredible.
Need further proof? Be sure to check out this massive Huntsman spider found a couple years ago in Queensland, Australia.
Huntsman spiders are typically grey or brown with flat bodies and long legs. They’re often compared to crabs because of their crab-like walking style, according to the Australian Museum.
These creepy crawlers are often found living under the loose bark of Australian trees, in logs, under rocks and in crevices. Occasionally, they run inside houses and businesses, but they really prefer to scare you by hanging out in your car behind the sun visor.
Though huntsman spiders can get big, growing up to six inches across, Charlotte—who was likened to the size of a pug—seems to be a bit of an anomaly.
“You might want to make sure you’re not missing a few chickens, sheep, calves…Wow! This is one big spider,” one Facebook commenter wrote.