Monday, October 24, 2011

the Polyphemus Moth

I can only shake my head over the ignorance of so many people saying "eww, a moth!" Yes, there are many that do look drab, but then there are so many more that are simply amazing.

Polyphemus Moth


This Beauty is a Silk Moth, one of the largest moths in Florida. The host plant is the Oak.  I must have snapped a hundred pictures, I just could not get enough of being able to see this creature up close.



This is what I encountered, and yes, just by the size of this caterpillar I knew I had a 'treasure'

caterpillar, last stage


As soon as I left it alone in the little butterfly habitat, with oak leaves and twigs, it started to spin its cocoon

silk moth cocoon


On a sunny afternoon, the moth cut a hole into the cocoon

cut cocoon


and there he is.  Males have large feathery antennae, to better sense the females


and just look at that pelt! one would think it be too warm to wear in Florida ;-)



During the day they camouflage themselves pretty well by looking like some brown oak leaves

camouflage


But when the moth feels threatened it quickly opens its wings with the eye-spots mimicking owl's eyes (hopefully startling away the predator).

The moth is named after the Greek Cyclops Polyphemus, the gigantic one-eyed son of Poseidon. Here's a close up of the 'Eye'

the eye of Polyphemus


The average wingspan is 6 inches

Antheraea polyphemus, family Saturniidae



click the pictures for larger size :)

4 comments:

  1. All of your photos are beautiful and well done, but these are exceptionally good! All I can say is Wow!

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks Kate, I am glad you like it :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Einfach sagenhaft dieser Schmetterling. Der Cocon gefaellt mir gesonders gut.

    ReplyDelete

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