Subject: Huge unknown moth in Santa Cruz, CA
Location: Santa Cruz, California
July 3, 2012 12:19 am
I found this moth perched on the site of my house next to my zapper where it appears to have died (on the wall not in the zapper). It hasn’t moved in about 24 hours, but it’s huge! I didn’t even think the Monarchs of Natural Bridges got this big. I’ve never seen anything like it before in my area and that’s what concerns me (possible invasive species?). It’s wings haven’t opened so I’m not sure as to the wingspan, I’d guess about 5-8 inches (13-20cm) and the body is about 2-3 inches (5-8cm) long.
Signature: Todd G.
The Polyphemus Moth is native to all 48 lower states as well as Canada. We suspect this female will lay eggs before she dies. Hopefully she had the opportunity to mate. Polyphemus Moths do not eat as adults. The live long enough to mate and lay eggs.
Too bad you didn’t have the opportunity to see this Polyphemus Moth with its wings opened. When the wings are spread, the eyespots are revealed, and these “eyes” give the illusion to a predator like a bird that the Polyphemus Moth is a much bigger creature than it really is, and possibly the bird even mistakes the moth for a predator.