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Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Polyphemus Moth



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Image Credit: Jenny L. taken in Pensacola, FL
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Image Credit: Jonelle from TN
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Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf- Bowen
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Image Credit: Troy D.
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Image Credit: Jonelle from TN
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Image Credit: John H.
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Image Credit: Joaquin from Spring Hill, TN
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Image Credit: Gina B.H. from Plantation, FL
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Image Credit: Jenny L. taken in Pensacola, FL
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Image Credit: Shaun S. taken in Park City, UT
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Image Credit: Cindy V.
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Image Credit: Glenda S. taken in TN
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With so many eyespots, it seems obvious that the big Polyphemus Moth is a real looker.



Updated: 07/07/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
This member of the Giant Silk Moth family is large and has a furry, brown body. Each brown forewing has a front border that is gray. The most remarkable feature besides is grand size would be its clear eyespots on the wings. An oval with a yellow ring with a dark center sits on each of the four wings. The hindwings' eyespots seem larger thanks to a black border and blue 'eyeshadow'. If startled, the moth opens and closes its wings, flashing all of its eyespots as a way to disorient a predator. The forewings have a curve along the bottom. A red and pink line crosses each forewing near the head. A black and pink band follows the bottom edge of all the wings, leaving a brown border. Antennae are brown and feathery.

The mammoth moths can be found in parks and deciduous forests in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Like most moths, they are nocturnal and attracted to lights. The caterpillar for this moth is multicolored. Its soft body is covered in thin black, yellow, and white rings. As it matures, it turns all white, retaining tiny black dots while growing four bristly spikes near its head. It eats a variety of plants and pupates on whatever plant it eats from.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Patterned insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Saturnidae
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          Genus: Antheraea
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            Species: polyphemus
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Antheraea polyphemus
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 75mm to 95mm (2.95" to 3.74")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; white; tan; yellow; black; blue; orange; pink; ivory
Descriptors: furry, feathery, flying, eyespot
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 75mm (3.0in) and 95mm (3.7in)
Lo: 75mm
Md: 85mm
Hi: 95mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
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State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
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State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Polyphemus Moth may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Polyphemus Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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