Thursday, February 2, 2012

Moth Mania

Polyphemus moth

We had some pretty interesting moths at our old house. I was lucky enough to spot this Polyphemus moth hanging out around my spider lilies. At first, I thought it was a brown leaf fluttering in the wind. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a huge, beautiful moth. This is one of the  largest moths in the moth world, with its wingspan measuring at 5 1/2 inches. The name, Polyphemus, is Greek in origin. The notable eye spots is where the name comes from, the Greek myth of the Cyclops Polyphemus. Those distinctive eye spots are key to this insects defense mechanisms. They serve to resemble a predator's own predators. Imagine a bird swooping down to catch this moth, only to see a face of a large owl...Yikes!! Can you see the "owl's face" in the picture below?

Owl's Face on Polyphemus moth

The markings on the wings are gorgeous. The wings are tinged in a light, iridescent pink color, which almost resembles women's eye shadow. The eye spots have deep black, shimmering blue and canary yellow coloring. I only spotted this moth twice in my former yard. I only hope that in my new backyard there are many more moth adventures ahead.


  1. How interesting. I don't think I've ever seen one of these.
    It's pretty, if not a little scary, with those 'eyes'.

  2. Linda - I was so fascinated with this moth. I'd never seen one before either. Who knows how many other creatures I missed in my backyard.

  3. Wonderful photos! The color pattern on the wings really does look like an owl's face. Amazing how Nature works, isn't it?

  4. Birdwoman - Thanks! Nature is truly amazing. I appreciate the comment.

  5. Wow, I had no idea we had such exotic moths in Central Texas. We get the sphinx moth out my way, which is pretty cool, but I'm definitely going to be on the lookout for one of these hairy cuties.

  6. Ally - I was under the impression that moths like this one were indigenous to only Northern states. You would expect to find them in a forest. The Larvae feed on Oak leaves which might be why you can find them in South TX.

  7. Great pictures! They really are gorgeous moths, aren't they? I'm looking forward to my next encounter.

    1. Thanks! It was beautiful. I'm so glad I had a chance to see one.