Indonesia has got a reputation for its freaky fauna, from man-eating snakes to… man-eating crocodiles. But this insect found in the home of one man in Semarang, Central Java, recently may take the crown for creepiest-looking critter in the country.
The creature’s rise to viral infamy started on Oct 19, when a Facebook user named Gandik, who lives in Semarang, uploaded a picture and video to his account with the simple, understated caption: “Just found a butterfly like this”.
Five days later, the post has been shared over 190,000 times and racked up over 39,000 comments from people all over the globe expressing their fear and repulsion for the aberrant insect.
With its glistening reddish thorax erupting into four tentacle-like protrusions covered in wiry hairs, it looks more like something you’d find on a terrifying alien planet than a house in Central Java.
But this insect is most definitely from Earth. Entomologists quickly identified the creature as creatonotos gangis, a type of moth found in parts of Southeast Asia and Australia. The beast’s hairy “tentacles” are actually sensory organs called coremata which are used to produce a mate-attracting pheromone (which makes sense because how else is something that scary looking going to find mate).
So if you have the misfortune to come across one of these monstrous moths in your home, you don’t need to panic as it is perfectly harmless to humans. Though if you ran out of your house screaming in terror anyways, we’d totally understand.