Chances are, you may have been fortunate enough to see this stunning and beautiful moth that appears to be watching you. The polyphemus moth has unique wing markings of what appears to look like 2 sets of eyes on them.

Measuring in at 6” wide, with wings expanded, the polyphemus moth has 2 sets of brown fuzzy wings that have eyespots on them. These eyespots have a thin outer black ring and a yellow thicker ring with a blue center on all 4 wings. The hindwings have an added bonus added to their eyespots. Theirs have what almost appears to look like blue eyeshadow above the eyespots. This is an extraordinary sight to see.

As a member of the giant silk moth family, the polyphemus moth starts off as a caterpillar with white, black, and yellow rings on a spiky body. These spikes protect them from prey, such as birds. This caterpillar typically takes up to two and a half months (shorter if warmer conditions exist) before creating a silk cocoon to complete its pupating into a moth. At which time it will emerge into a beautiful moth in less than 2 weeks.

This type of moth escapes its cocoon in late afternoon and immediately mates that night. The fertilized female also lays her eggs that same night onto leaf hosts where they will sit for a week and a half before hatching.

This type of moth eats a wide variety of plants and will create its cocoon on the stem of the leaf it’s eating. When forming its cocoon, the caterpillar will roll itself up into several leaves as it’s creating its cocoon to protect itself from potential predators.

The polyphemus moths are not like casemaking moths or webbing clothes moths; these other moths are fabric eaters. The polyphemus moth prefers trees such as willow, birch, oak, and elm.

Being a nocturnal moth that is attracted to light like most flying insects, the polyphemus moth can be found fluttering throughout Canada and the US except for Nevada and Arizona where temperatures can rise above 115° killing the eggs, caterpillars, and adult moths.

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