Subject: large moth, approx. 2 inch wing span
Location: Northeast Pennsylvania
June 25, 2016 7:00 pm
found this on our slider, my husband knocked it off and it revealed inside wings..very pretty. We live in Effort, PA, Monroe County and it is summer time..June 25, 2016. Thinking it might be an Imperial moth, would appreciate further identification. After it was still, not moving, on the deck for a while, it moved to the bottom of the slider, then it’s wings started fluttering and then it took off.
This is a male Io Moth and your images nicely illustrate its protective mimicry. Many Giant Silkmoths in the family Saturniidae, including your Io Moth, and some Sphinx Moths in the family Sphingidae have evolved an excellent survival strategy. Markings on the underwings resemble eyespots and are known as ocelli. When the moth is resting, the upper wings cover the underwings. When disturbed, the moth reveals its underwings, flashing its eyes, potentially startling a predator like a bird into thinking it has awakened a sleeping giant. Io Moths have also evolved to exhibit sexual dimorphism, meaning the two sexes have obvious visible differences. Female Io Moths have brown upper wings.
Thank you very much for the information Daniel!