Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Polyphemus goes on an Odyssey

Last September I wrote a post about several giant silkworm moths that were going into cocoons at my house.  This weekend one of the moths emerged from it cocoon - the Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus).

A female Polyphemus Moth - the thin antennae and expanded abdomen identify her as female

When this moth spreads its wings it shows a pair of large eye-spots.  This is a type of mimicry.  If the moth is threatened by a predator such as a bird it can show its eye-spots to appear like a much larger creature.  The Polyphemus Moth was named because of these eye-spots.  Polyphemus is the mythical Cyclops that is blinded by Odysseus in the epic poem The Odyssey.

Polyphemus Moth with wings open exposing her eye-spots.

Polyphemus Moths are Mid-Michigan's second largest species of moth - only the Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia) is larger.  We are waiting on three Cecropia Moths to emerge from their cocoons any day.

The Polyphemus on my hand for scale

Last evening we took a few photographs of the Polyphemus Moth (a female) before releasing her in a local park.  Hopefully she will be able to attract a mate and a new generation can start this Summer.

Shara holding the Polyphemus before it was released

The Polyphemus Moth sitting in a Silver Maple tree

No comments:

Post a Comment