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Polyphemus Moth

Antheraea polyphemus

Description:

The Polyphemus Moth, Antheraea polyphemus, named after the huge cyclops Odysseus fought in Homer's "Odyssey," is one of the largest moths in North America, with the largest measuring to fifteen centimeters, or about six inches. The Polyphemus Moth is greatly characterized by the small round eyespots on the forewing, and the large, dark eyespot on the hind wings, both of which are usually visible at rest. The Polyphemus Moth is the most widespread silk moth in North America, ranging from Southern Canada, to all 48 of the continental United States. The adults do not feed, depending on energy gained while eating as a caterpillar. They live long enough to find a mate to keep the species going. The shiny "knees" are due to lack of hair, resulting in an exposed exoskeleton.

Habitat:

The Polyphemus Moth larva feeds on birch, grape, hickory, maple, oak, willow, and members of the rose family. The Polyphemus Moth is the most widespread silk moth in North America, ranging from Southern Canada, to all 48 of the continental United States. The Polyphemus Moth lives in deciduous forests, and many other habitats, making it a fairly versatile species.

Notes:

The moth was injured when it was found, for unknown reasons. Taken in 2009 with a Canon Powershot SX110 IS. I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed experiencing this!

No species ID suggestions

51 Comments (1–25)

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 3 years ago

Thank you so much, Kranti!!

Kranti Dhiman
Kranti Dhiman 3 years ago

nice series J !

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 3 years ago

Thank you so much Terri!

TerriAllenVinson
TerriAllenVinson 3 years ago

beautiful! thanks Jakubko!

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 4 years ago

Karen, I'm not 100%, but Nina helped me earlier in the comments on this spotting, and these links seem to help:

Here is the female:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/5041

Here is the male:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/653374/bgi...

The while both males and females have large antennae, it looks to me as if the male has larger segments on the antennae that protrude further outward.

KarenL
KarenL 4 years ago

Jacob, are you sure this is a female? The antennae look very large to me, more like the males.

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 4 years ago

Thank you very much, Toucan!

Toucan
Toucan 4 years ago

Great spot and info! =)

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 4 years ago

Thank you very much, Tena!

TenaTylerWard
TenaTylerWard 4 years ago

Oh, wow! Beautiful!

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 4 years ago

Thank you very much, Patty and Blaise. I'm not sure I knew what to make of it either at first glance!

patty
patty 4 years ago

Great spotting and series J =)

blaise
blaise 4 years ago

Nice! In the first picture, it looks like he doesn't know what to make of you. :)

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 4 years ago

Thanks bhargav and Jonathan! That means a lot!

Jonathan Guyot
Jonathan Guyot 4 years ago

Amazing moth ! Great spotting !

bhargav.py
bhargav.py 4 years ago

Nice pic!

bhargav.py
bhargav.py 4 years ago

Amazing !!

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 4 years ago

Emma, that is actually just because of the lack of hairs on the knees, so it is just an exposed exoskeleton.

Hema Shah
Hema Shah 4 years ago

In this case the joints are black?

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 4 years ago

Thank you so much, Francis!

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 4 years ago

Thank you for the kind comment, Carol! You deserve everyone of those comments I have given you, and the IDs as well!

CarolSnowMilne
CarolSnowMilne 4 years ago

Great spot! I love it! Amazing! I missed this. WOW! And thanks for helping me with ID and liking my moths too.

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 4 years ago

I am really interested how these huge moths (i.e. most of the giant silk moths) can function just by keeping energy they had when they were in the larval stage. Any ideas how they can retain so much energy?

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 4 years ago

Thanks Emma! That means a lot! I think adding the type of camera helps people who are interested in buying a new camera. Canon now has a newer version, but it has gained a reputation as a battery hog.
http://www.amazon.com/Canon-PowerShot-Wi...
Thank you, Jolly and Mayra!

MayraSpringmann
MayraSpringmann 4 years ago

Wow! Fantastic capture, Jack!!

New York, USA

Lat: 42.35, Long: -74.02

Spotted on Jul 18, 2009
Submitted on Jul 2, 2012

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