Early in the morning last week, the Intreegue office was greeted by this wonderful creature - a Polyphemus Moth.
This guy is one species for the Giant Silk Moth group from the Saturniidae family. It's peculiar name stems from that of Greek derivation, from the cyclops in the Odyssey. It is named this for it's lovely giant eyespots, reflecting that of the feared Greek giant named Polyphemus, son of Poseidon and Thoosa.
These moths are primarily tan-colored and bear an average wingspan of 10-15 cm. The antennae are comb-like in appearance with those of the males typically being larger than those of the females. Our friend appears to be a male!
The caterpillars consume leaves from a wide variety of trees including Maple, Birch, Oak and Willow, however, do not commonly cause damage to host trees. Surprisingly, the adults do not feed.
Though common, this particular species is seldom seen due to its short lifespan. They tend to fly in the earlier hours of the morning, which is how we spotted this fella.
You can help these unique creatures by:
- Turning off bright exterior lights at night
- Inspecting your vegetation for cocoons before trimming
- Relocating your fallen leaves instead of shredding or burning them
What critters are you seeing outside this summer? Post your wildlife photos to our Facebook page! If you would like any more information on insects and pollinators, please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org