Sunday, July 6, 2014


I saw a new species of note last month.  There was no way to miss this large moth, probably the largest I've ever seen, on the side of the school where I walk the dog.

This is a Polyphemus Moth, a member of the giant silk moth family. We are at the upper limit of its range, here on the west coast.  Consulting this website, it appears they are fairly common in the US.

It's unfortunate that I didn't see its wings opened, as I would've seen beautiful purple eyespots on its 6-inch wingspan.


Susannah Anderson said...

That's a beautiful moth. I've only ever seen one, and that was dead, lying on the road in Agassiz, in perfect shape and with the wings spread wide. I kept it for years until it disintegrated.

I wonder how long they live as adults, since they mate and lay their eggs as soon as they emerge. The website you linked doesn't say.

Tim said...

Hi Susannah, excellent question! Apparently they do not eat as adults due to an absence of a working mouth. They are essentially mating machines as adults, attracting mates with pheromones, and laying eggs. This website suggests an adult lifespan of only 4 days!

I feel even more privileged to see a living specimen now.