Male Imperial Moth

Subject: Imperial Moth
Location: Pinehurst, NC
August 21, 2014 11:31 am
This moth has been on my bathroom mirror for 2 days. Why is it not moving?!?!
Signature: Kristan

Male Imperial Moth
Male Imperial Moth

Hi Kristan,
According to BugGuide, Imperial Moths have:  “wings yellow, variably spotted and shaded with pinkish, orangish, or purplish-brown; male more heavily marked than female, especially in the south.”  The male Imperial Moth in this image from BugGuide is colored and marked almost exactly like your individual.

Mating Imperial Moths, male below
Mating Imperial Moths, male below

We are going to speculate on your questions.
1.  The light attracted your male Imperial Moth.
2.  Like all Giant Silkmoths in the family Saturniidae, Imperial moths live long enough to mate, and in the case of the female, to lay eggs.
3. Flying when you are a Giant Silkmoth takes significant energy, and adults do not feed, needing to store fat and energy during the caterpillar stage.
4.  We believe this male Imperial Moth was attracted to your light, and he is resting because he cannot sense a ready female nearby.
5.  Male Giant Silkmoths have well developed antennae that can sense a female’s pheromones from a mile away.
6.  If you allow him to rest, and he senses a female before he is ready to die, this male Imperial Moth will fly off into the night.

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