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Mating Imperial Moths (from our archive)

Mating Imperial Moths (from our archive)

Subject: Imperial moth
October 7, 2014 1:39 pm
Have 2 imperial moths on the ground in my backyard in the grass ,mateing, been ther all day ,how long does it take ?
Signature: Tom mickle

Mating might take several hours, but they have no time to waste as adults generally live only about a week.

They were at least 6 hours that I witnessed , and just as it got dark , they flew away, thanks for your information.

Ed. Note October 8, 2014:  WordPress now automatically inserts images and other media above the text, regardless of where the cursor is placed.  We have been moving images for weeks and we just decided to give in and let WordPress put the images on top of the posting.  Let us know what you think of the new format for our postings.

Virginie Valla Vacher, Mary Lemmink Lawrence, Julieta Stangaferro liked this post
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Buck Moth

Subject: Colorful Moth
Location: Orange County, NY, USA
October 7, 2014 8:34 am
I spotted this moth while geocaching. This was on the Shawangunk Ridge in Orange County, NY near an abandoned lead mine on the 6th of October.
The exact location is:
N 41° 26.439 W 074° 34.758
UTM: 18T E 535144 N 4587760
WGS84 datum
Signature: M.Bahlam

Buck Moth

Buck Moth

Dear M. Bahlam,
This lovely moth is a Buck Moth,
Hemileuca maia, and they fly quite late in the year.  The common name Buck Moth refers to their presence during hunting season where they are frequently encountered in the woods.

Buck Moth

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Subject: Imperial Moth
Location: Pinehurst, NC
August 21, 2014 11:31 am
This moth has been on my bathroom mirror for 2 days. Why is it not moving?!?!
Signature: Kristan

Male Imperial Moth

Male Imperial Moth

Hi Kristan,
According to BugGuide, Imperial Moths have:  “wings yellow, variably spotted and shaded with pinkish, orangish, or purplish-brown; male more heavily marked than female, especially in the south.”  The male Imperial Moth in this image from BugGuide is colored and marked almost exactly like your individual.

Mating Imperial Moths, male below

Mating Imperial Moths, male below

We are going to speculate on your questions.
1.  The light attracted your male Imperial Moth.
2.  Like all Giant Silkmoths in the family Saturniidae, Imperial moths live long enough to mate, and in the case of the female, to lay eggs.
3. Flying when you are a Giant Silkmoth takes significant energy, and adults do not feed, needing to store fat and energy during the caterpillar stage.
4.  We believe this male Imperial Moth was attracted to your light, and he is resting because he cannot sense a ready female nearby.
5.  Male Giant Silkmoths have well developed antennae that can sense a female’s pheromones from a mile away.
6.  If you allow him to rest, and he senses a female before he is ready to die, this male Imperial Moth will fly off into the night.

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Subject: 4″ brown moth
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
August 11, 2014 5:50 am
Can you help I’d this bug? It has been resting for a day over my neighbor’s door. It’s about 4″ wide and brown. We live in Cincinnati. The date is mid August, 2014.
Signature: Katie

Female Polyphemus Moth

Female Polyphemus Moth

Dear Katie,
This is a female Polyphemus Moth from the family Saturniidae, and like other members of the family, adult Polyphemus Moths do not eat.  They only live long enough to mate and lay eggs, surviving on nutrients stored while a ravenous caterpillar.  Hopefully this female has mated and she will lay fertile eggs.

 

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Subject: Moth
Location: Coatesville, Indiana
August 7, 2014 11:31 pm
I found this moth in Coatesville, Indiana. It was the beginning of August, Midday. It had deformed wings, and you can see the size compared to my fingertips. It had a furry body, deformed wings, and it kept laying eggs or pellets on my fingers. the pellets were beige with a black dot in the middle and an almost tar-like substance on the bottom to attach it. I’m really curious what this little guy is called!!!
Signature: Deena B.

Polyphemus Moth

Polyphemus Moth

Dear Deena,
This Polyphemus Moth either has atrophied wings, or they have not completely expanded after emergence from the pupa.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large moth
Location: South Indianapolis
August 8, 2014 8:54 am
This large (7″ wingspan) moth showed up on our patio and spent a couple days hanging out. I live in an industrial area just outside of downtown Indianapolis. This was the week of August 4, 2014.
He wasn’t afraid of anyone getting close to him, so I was able to get some good photos.
Normally, all you can see are his main wings. Only when he starts to feel threatened does he expose his lower wings (and eyespots).
I’ve looked at hundreds of pictures of moths, but couldn’t find any that matched its unique markings. The closest I could find was a Cecropia.
Signature: Ben Mc

Polyphemus Moth

Polyphemus Moth

Dear Ben Mc,
Like the Cecropia Moth, this Polyphemus Moth is one of the Giant Silkmoths in the family Saturniidae.  Many moths in the family were given names that reference mythology, and Polyphemus was a one-eyed cyclops that figures into the Odyssey, the story of the journey of Ulysses, also known as Odysseus.

Daniel-
WOW! Thanks for getting back so quickly. I never realized how many moths there really were. And they’re not just those grey little things that eat your clothes!
Thanks for being such a great resource-
Ben Mc

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination