What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Large moth. Cecropia?
July 2, 2010
I once found an alien looking being, took a picture, but lost it in a catastrophic PC failure a few years ago before I could identify it. Out of massive amounts of data that I’ve lost only those pictures and a few audio recordings really bothered me and I think about them every once in a while. Today I was finally fed up and decided to pour over the internet for as much time as I needed to and make as much of a fool of myself describing the weird creature on forums as I must until I find out what was it. I was ready! I was pumped!
Three minutes later it was all over… I immediately found your site, and found what I was looking for in a few more clicks of the mouse. You kind of destroyed my initial enthusiasm for a quest, but don’t get me wrong – the site is awesome and I was very grateful once the adrenalin wore off. 
Now I still have a small problem. The being I remember looks a lot like a Cecropia Moth Caterpillar, and the moth itself (pictured on your site) looks a lot like the moths I see all the time. But they’re not quite the same! I actually have a few pictures of the moths I’m used to, but only when I searched through them trying to find a good one to post here I noticed there are differences. Hence the two images.
I would very much like to know if the moths on my pictures are indeed Cecropia moths or some variety thereof, and if the caterpillar I’ve seen is from the same species. Is it weird that I see the moths all the time for as long as I can remember and the caterpillar only once? Are my moths of different varieties?
Thank you very much!
Image 1: taken in May
Image 2: taken in August
Same location.
Europe, Serbia, 43.37N, 20.41E, ~400m

Giant Peacock Moth

Hi John,
Your letter has us quite intrigued.  Your assumption that your moth resembles the Cecropia Moth is understandable, as they are both in the same family, Saturniidae, but the Cecropia Moth is a North American species.  If you saw one in Serbia, it must have been introduced or it escaped from captivity.  The moth in your photo is the Great Peacock Moth or Giant Peacock Moth,
Saturnia pyri, the largest moth in Europe.  You may read more about the Giant Peacock Moth on the Saturniidae of the Western Palaearctic website.   Your second moth is a Sphinx Moth or Hawkmoth in the family Sphingidae, but we need to do additional research on the species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

5 Responses to Great Peacock Moth from Serbia

  1. tom russell says:

    I saw one last night attracted by the light outside my house in Menites on the island of Andros in Greece. Truly amazing

  2. Liuba says:

    I found a Great Peacock Moth caterpillar on my potato plants. It is more a tan/brown colour (rather than the greenish tinge the photos on your website have) with the tiny blue spots all over.
    Haven’t ever seen the adult moths around. We live in Aghios Apostoles, Evia. I bought a potato bag to plant the potatoes and this bag had advertising and instructions in Slavic languages – so perhaps the bag had eggs which had travelled here from afar??

    • bugman says:

      Many caterpillars change colors just prior to metamorphosis.

      • Liuba says:

        Thanks for your reply. I too think the tan Great Peacock moth caterpillar on the potato plants was finding somewhere to attach for metamorphosis as the potato leaves were not eaten at all (poisonous I think?). Yesterday we found another one which was definitely green and had chomped its way through the top tender leaves of many almond tree branches. It seems cruel to kill these beautiful caterpillars

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