Subject: Butterfly or Mothra?
Location: Washington, DC
August 11, 2015 5:19 am
Dear Bugman,
Yesterday morning I opened my front door and promptly was ready to become an agoraphobe, because of what was awaiting me on my porch. While my initial thought was it was the size of a football, I will now acquiesce that perhaps a child’s football is more accurate – not an NFL sized one. The wingspan was about 5″ – 6″.
Anyhoo, my fearless father poked it, and it fluttered to the ground, appearing quite dead, allowing him to snap the attached picture. However, as he prepared to move it, it suddenly came back to life (perhaps it is a Zombie Mothra) and flew away.
Which lead to a debate about whether it was a Butterfly, Moth, or alien sent to kill me. (Suffice to say I’m not the world’s biggest insect fan).
Can you help?
Signature: Not-a-bug-girl

Male Polyphemus Moth

Male Polyphemus Moth

Dear Not-a-bug-girl,
This male Polyphemus Moth is a member of the Giant Silkmoth family Saturniidae, and adults do not have functioning mouthparts, so they are incapable of either eating or biting.  Helping with the identification was an easy matter, but it seems convincing you that insects are wondrous creatures might be a bit more difficult.

I sincerely thank you for your help!  I’m going to endeavor to be less scream-and-run-crying-like-a-baby about insects, but I make no promises.  I *did* however this morning refrain from squishing a small white spider in my house and instead lured it onto a piece of paper and relocated it outside.  Baby steps…  🙂

Location: Washington, DC

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