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Polyphemus moth

Antheraea polyphemus

Description:

Male Polyphemus silk moth drying its wings one morning at a convenience store-gas station, which are good places to spot moths of all kinds, probably because undisturbed crannies in windows & overhangs look like suitable places for cocoons. Maybe also because of the bright lights ...

Habitat:

* Common in the United States, Mexico and southern Canada. Favorite foods include the leaves of oak, hickory, elm, maple and birch.

Notes:

* Considerable variation in color from reddish cinnamon to dark brown. Most notable feature are two large, dark eye spots on its hind wings. The spots give the moth its name, from the Greek myth of the Cyclops Polyphemus, from whom Odysseus and his men escaped. The eye spots are a distraction pattern meant to confuse predators -- maybe looks like an owl's head and eyes.
* Two broods hatch each year, in early spring and late summer. During two months as a caterpillar, Antheraea polyphemus can eat 86,000 times its own weight and grow to be 3-4 inches long in five instars.
* Adults are huge, with an average wingspan of 6 inches. They have vestigal mouths, don't eat and live only about a week. Males use their plumose antennae to locate females and mate.

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9 Comments

suzmonk
suzmonk 3 years ago

Thank you, AshleyT, it's an honor to be nominated for SOTW! Spotting this moth made my day. I was on my way into work. Starting my day by spending a few minutes with this handsome fellow was a welcome surprise.

AshleyT
AshleyT 3 years ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

suzmonk
suzmonk 3 years ago

Thank you, Leuba & Mark!

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 3 years ago

Those antennae are amazing - great shots suzmonk !

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 3 years ago

Fantastic series . Well done.

suzmonk
suzmonk 3 years ago

Thank you, Christine Y, so ... flamboyant.

Christine Y.
Christine Y. 3 years ago

Love the face shot - those antennae are fabulous!

suzmonk
suzmonk 3 years ago

Thanks very much, Brian38. I would have loved to stick around longer and watch. But I couldn't. Had the wrong lens for the face shot, but did it anyway ...

Brian38
Brian38 3 years ago

Great spotting and info suzmonk!

suzmonk
Spotted by
suzmonk

Mississippi, USA

Spotted on Aug 5, 2014
Submitted on Nov 27, 2017

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