A BIG Moth
I recently found a large moth hanging on our garage door. My wife trapped him for closer examination. This guy has a wing span of 4-5" and a body as large and meaty as the end segment of my thumb. He is brown with a black spot on each wing . each black spot is 1/2" in diameter and has a translucent center. He also has a translucent spot on each wing up toward his head about 1/4" in diameter. His wings are paper like in appearance and look a little fuzzy. He also has an outline of darker brown on the top/front of the wings and a lighter brown outline on the top/rear of the wings with a black and a white line separating colors. The under side of the wings is all light brown with very little color variation, except for the translucent spots. What is it?
pic of the BIG Moth
Hopefully this pic will help, I could only get the underside on my scanner, I don’t want to kill him and the photo didn’t turn out very good.
You have a female Polyphemus Moth, Antheraea polyphemus, which was named for the one-eyed cyclops of Greek mythology because of the “eyespots” on the hind wings. It is a member of the giant silkworm family, Saturniidae. Adults do not eat, but live solelyh to mate and reproduce, living just a few days. By the looks of things, your female should be laying eggs soon, and if she is fertile, they will hatch into hungry caterpillars that eat oak, hickory, elm, maple, birch and other trees and shrubs. They are green and will grow to about 3 inches before spinning a plump cocoon either on the ground or attached to a twig. They are common in the South where there are two broods a year.
We did a little research and you confirmed our suspicions. We live in Hershey, Pennsylvania, hardly the South. Thanks so much for your quick response, have a great day!
Don & Cindy Hess
P.S. She is free now, but last we checked just hanging around