Sunday, July 17, 2016

Polyphemus Moth Photograph

Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus) photographed resting on grass during daytime. Shortly after this photo was taken
the moth moved its wings to an upright position. The underside does not show the eye spots, so resembles a dead leaf.  
This specimen of Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus) was spotted resting on grass in the shadow of a building, morning of July 16, 2016, in a town in eastern Massachusetts, USA. The name, "Polyphemus" is taken from Greek mythology - being the name of the Cyclops who had captured Odysseus (Ulysses in Latin) and his fellow sailors in the journey home from the war against the the city-state of Troy (the Trojan War). Odysseus blinds Polyphemus and his men escape.

Click on photo to enlarge.
Polyphemus, the moth, is a species in the Family Saturniidae, Sub-family Saturniinae, also known as Giant Silkworm Moths. Most of these have eye spots on lower wings and may also have eye spots on upper wings. In the U.S. the best known Saturniinae moth is the Luna moth, pale green in color with wing eye spots and tails extending from the bottoms of the lower wings.

All Saturniidae lack functional mouths and digestive systems. Instead, they live as winged adults for only 7-10 days. During this time the males seek out the females for mating. Each adult mates only one time. The females then lay a few eggs at a time to the underside of a leaf, in this way scattering 50-200 eggs across many sites.

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