Subject: Royal Moth?
Location: Panama, Central America
December 17, 2015 9:37 pm
Can you identify this moth., about 4″ wing span. In Boquete Panama, elev 4500’… Tropical cloud forest. Thx!
Signature: Curious clare
Dear Curious Clare,
This is not a Royal Moth, but a Giant Silkmoth in the subfamily Hemileucinae, known as the Buck and Io Moth family in North America. We believe we have correctly identified your moth as Automeris hamata on the World’s Largest Saturniidae Site, a member’s only site, and it is also pictured on the Fauna of Paraguay site. Many members of the genus have pronounced eyespots on the underwings that are hidden when the moth is at rest, but revealed if the moth is disturbed by a predator. A bird thinking it might be about to eat a tasty moth would be surprised into perceiving a potentially larger predator with enormous eyes, providing a defense mechanism for the moth. We will check with Bill Oehlke to verify our identification as there are many similar looking members of the genus. We suspect Bill may request permission to post your images on his site as well, and we hope you provide that permission.
Yes, that is hamata.
Thanks for thinking of me. Would be great to get the date.
Daniel, thank you! This is so cool to have a resource such as yours ….I scanned and scanned sites but could find no exact match so thanks again. Of course, Bill may use the photos …no credit necessary.