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Insect Identification

Polyphemus Moth - (Antheraea polyphemus)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 6/25/2014

The huge, seemingly drab, Polyphemus Moth shows flashes of color when it opens its wings.

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This member of the Giant Silk Moth family is both large and furry. The antennae are also feathery. Eyespots on the wing are oval-shaped and have rings of yellow, black and blue in them. If startled, they will open and close their wings, flashing their eyespots as a way to disorient a would-be predator.

They can be found in parks and deciduous forests in urban, suburban and rural areas. Like most moths, they are nocturnal and attracted to lights.

Caterpillars are multicolored. Their soft bodies are covered in thin black, yellow and white rings. As it matures, it turns all white, retaining tiny black dots while growing 4 bristly spikes near its head. They eat a variety of plants and pupate on whatever they are eating.

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Category: Butterfly or Moth
Common name: Polyphemus Moth
Scientific Name: Antheraea polyphemus

Taxonomy:
  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
     Order: Lepidoptera
      Family: Saturnidae
       Genus: Antheraea
        Species: polyphemus

Adult Size (Length): 75mm to 95mm (2.95in to 3.74in) COMPARE

Identifying Colors: brown; white; tan; yellow; black; blue; orange; pink; ivory

General Description: furry, feathery, flying, eyespot


North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico


* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.


NOTE: Material presented throughout this website is for entertainment value and should not to be construed as usable for scientific research or medical advice (insect bites, etc...). Please consult licensed, degreed professionals for such information. Email corrections / Comments to InsectIdentification at Gmail dot com.
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