What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Need ID of This Beautiful Nocturnal(?) Moth
Hi There Bugman,
Just discovered your funky bug site. I need an ID on this critter that crossed my path (literally flew into my face) one warm evening in August of ’03. I live on Long Island NY and never in my 42 years seen one of these kind of moths flying around. I initially mistook it for a small brown bat! I then figured it for a Luna moth but after seeing one ID’d on your site I have not a clue. Please Advise.
Thanks,
R.P.

Hi R.P.
Your Polyphemus Moth, Antheraea polyphemus, belongs to the same Family as the Luna Moth. Both are Saturnids or Giant Silkworm Moths. Caterpillars eat leaves from many deciduous trees and adults do not feed, living only a few days to mate and reproduce.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

4 Responses to Polyphemus Moth

  1. Sylvia Moritz says:

    My granddaughter has been feeding her caterpillar for the past 6 or so weeks. It has created a chrysalis. They have placed it outside. How long before it completes its metamorphoses? It is a beautiful moth? Is it related to the cecrophia moth? Thanks in advance for your time.

    Sylvia Moritz

    • bugman says:

      The Polyphemus Moth and the Cecropia Moth are both Giant Silk Moths in the family Saturniidae, but the Polyphemus Moth is actually more closely related to the Luna Moth. Since it is so early in the year, we suspect the adult moth may eclose within a few months, enabling multiple generations per year.

  2. Pat McKeever says:

    Hi Bugman, I was just out walking and came upon one of the polyphemus moths standing in the street so I moved him to the grass so he would not get run over. When I approached him to move him he opened his wings to be flat exposing his full size and the eyes on his wings. I have to assume they are a deterrent against predators? It was mid day and he did not fly away so am I to assume he is close to the end of his life cycle? You mentioned that the adults do not eat, only mate and, I guess, lay eggs but the body on this one was quite large, can I assume that it has not laid its eggs yet?

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