Currently viewing the category: "Giant Silk Moths"
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Subject: Flying bug looks like a leaf
Location: Petersburg, Virginia
May 23, 2015 10:20 pm
Hi I saw a large flying bug that looked kind of like a bat but it has green wings like a leaf and a long tail. I thought it was a bat when I saw it flying around my patio, but when it came close to the window I saw that it looked like a big leaf. I’m sorry the picture is so dark, it ws at night around 10pm. I’m in Petersburg Virginia.
Signature: Miss Vee

Maybe a Luna Moth

Maybe a Luna Moth

Dear Miss Vee,
As you have indicated, your image is dark, but it is also quite blurry and really not much help when it comes to identification, however your description indicates that you most likely saw a Luna Moth.

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Subject: caterpillar or moth?
Location: North Charleston, SC
May 21, 2015 8:14 pm
This strange fellow about fell on my head tonight. I’ve never seen a bug quite like it. It looked like a caterpillar but had wings and was quite large (about 5 inches long). Any idea who this guy was?
Signature: Christy

Newly Metamorphosed Imperial Moth

Newly Metamorphosed Imperial Moth

Dear Christy,
This is a newly eclosed Imperial Moth, and because its wings have not yet fully expanded, it still resembles a caterpillar in form though its metamorphosis is complete.  Once its wings have expanded, it can fly and it will seek out a mate, living only long enough to reproduce.  Adult Imperial Moths do not take food.

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Subject: Mississippi moth?
Location: Vicksburg, Mississippi
May 17, 2015 2:10 pm
I saw this bug while visiting Vicksburg, MS a couple of days ago. It was the biggest moth I’ve ever seen (I typically avoid all bugs). I’m just curious what it is since it flew away before yesterday morning for me to see it again!
Signature: Christina

Female Cecropia Moth

Cecropia Moth

Dear Christina,
Your recently metamorphosed male Cecropia Moth is stunning.  He will sense pheromones released by a female Cecropia Moth, sometimes from as far away as a mile, with his big, feathery antennae, and then they will mate.  He does not need to eat.  Neither he nor his mate will feed, as they have atrophied mouthparts and they can subsist for approximately a week off fat stored in the body while a large, green Cecropia Caterpillar.

Cecropia Moth

Cecropia Moth

Jaye Ridet, Sue Dougherty, Amy Gosch, Andrea Leonard Drummond, Juliett Moth, Rebecca Wright-Hyde, Kitty Heidih liked this post
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Subject: My First Ever Luna Moon Moth. ( I think. )
Location: Canton GA
May 10, 2015 1:47 pm
This Mother’s Day morning I got up to get my first cup of coffee and it’s still dark out with the slightest light peaking through . We live in town but on top of a mountain that was partly destroyed by a storm . So there are only two houses at the bottom then drive up to the top and that’s us and we are surrounded by a forest it’s like you are teleported into a different world , cause you know that the closest store is only half mile away.
I am a smoker and normally smoke inside but I had been watching a friends kids for the weekend and I do not smoke sorry anyway I go out to smoke and as I light my cigarette a huge winged thing is slowly crawling up the wall to my French doors. I scream cause I am caught off guard. It stays that way from 545am until 500pm then it starts to shake or vibrate and then flies off. It was so beautiful it let me get as close as I wanted I did not touch it because I was afraid the oils or nicotine on my hands would hurt it. I was in awwww after took the pics and then even more when it took flight.n
Signature: Renee Duran

Luna Moth

Luna Moth

Congratulations on your Luna Moth sighting Renee.  Your experience is enviable.

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Subject: Moth or Butterfly?
Location: Indianapolis, IN
May 6, 2015 11:35 am
My 8th grade science students noticed this “bug” today when we were outside collecting data for an experiment. We are curious about what it is. It is about 6 inches long wingtip to wingtip. We are in Indianapolis, IN. Thanks for your help.
Signature: Angela Fitzgerald

Cecropia Moth

Cecropia Moth

Dear Angela,
This Giant Silkmoth in the family Saturniidae is a male Robin Moth according to BugGuide, or a
Cecropia Moth, Hyalophora cecropia, named after King Cecrops who had the body of a man and the tail of a serpent.  We don’t know exactly what caused early naturalists cognizant of the binomial method of naming living creatures to name the lovely Cecropia Moth after such a hybrid, unless it has something to do with the enormous caterpillar of the Cecropia Moth.  Your individual just emerged from its cocoon which the caterpillar spun in the crook of your wall under the ledge.  We generally receive images of Cecropia Moth Cocoons on branches.

Gary Vance, Lotus Green, Kathryn Allen, Mary Lemmink Lawrence, Alfonso Moreno, Christina Sargent, Sue Dougherty, Crista S David G, Alisha Bragg, Kitty Heidih liked this post
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Subject: Lovely moth
Location: Navasota, Texas
April 24, 2015 12:06 pm
My daughter found this beautiful specimen in our garage several nights ago. I relocated him (her?) to a bush in our side yard. From looking online I thought it might be a Polyphemus, but when I compare the pictures, the colors aren’t quite right. It looks more like the Automeris sp. from Ecuador, but we live in Texas, so I’d be very curious to know what kind of moth this is. Thank you!
Signature: Curious Mom

Female Io Moth

Female Io Moth

Dear Curious Mom,
This lovely moth is a female Io Moth, and she can be differentiated from male Io Moths which have yellow instead of brown forewings.  This extreme visual difference between the sexes is known as sexual dimorphism.  Hindwings of both species have bold eyespots or oculi that are used to frighten predators like birds.  Io Moths often rest with their hindwings covered, but when disturbed, they reveal the eyespots which effectively startle the predator into thinking it is about to be eaten by a larger creature.  Io Moths like other members of the Giant Silkmoth family Saturniidae, only live a few days and do not feed as adults.  Their purpose is to mate a reproduce.  Handle the Caterpillar of the Io Moth with caution as they have stinging spines.

Thanks so much for your speedy reply! We have not seen any caterpillars but I appreciate the warning to steer clear. Your website is a fabulous resource, especially for someone like me with inquisitive kids. Thanks again.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination