Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

Spring 2021 gathering in Louisiana, April 28-May 2

National Moth Week photos of insects and people. Here's how to add your images.

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Large Moth in Maryland - Antheraea polyphemus

Large Moth in Maryland - Antheraea polyphemus
Cheverly, MD USA, Prince Georges County, Maryland, USA
April 16, 2004
Size: approx 6 inches
This moth flew into my house and after taking the photo we coaxed it outside. I have lived here for 12 years and never saw a moth like this; last April when I took this picture it was the 17 year brood X cicadas were out, I was wondering if that might be related in some way.

It was a beautiful moth, I can't remember the exact size, but it was exceptionally large by local standards. I'm guessing over 6 inch wingspan.

from ID Request section

7757 - Polyphemus Moth - Antheraea polyphemus
Beats the early Maryland date by 4 days. I'm about 10-11 miles farther out from DC in Bowie, and I think the cicadas were just getting started here by then. The nights of May 20-24 were simply awful around my moth lights. They were 6-inches deep and acted nasty when I asked them to leave. If I am still mothing in 2021 maybe some nursing home in Florida will let me set up my light and sheet and provide entertainment for the other octogenarians during cicada season.

Date Clarification
I was guessing a bit at the date; it would have been between April 15 and April 24. We loved the cicadas, they were fascinating and my kids still miss them. How are the moths related to the ciacada's appearance? Presumably something about food, but what part of the moth's lifecycle eats what part of the cicada's lifecycle? A web reference is fine!!

See the Guide Pahe here.......
.... Patrick Coin has provided an excellent reference on his Guide Page for Periodical Cicadas. Moths have nothing to do with their disappearance. The pupae emerge in a fairly syncronous manner, eclose, mate, lay eggs and die (all in about 6 weeks or so). They overwhelm all predators (mainly a few birds and mammals, moths are not one of them) by their sheer weight in numbers. Approximately 300 species of moths appeared at my lights during the ~ 6 weeks the cicadas were present. The only interactions that I observed involved moths being ousted from resting positions by cicadas that bumped into them, quite at random. Too little space, too many bugs. I hated the cicadas. During the peak 5-6 days when they swarmed my lights, walls, sheet, driveway, etc., my nightly addition of new moth species sank to near zero (from about 10 per night). Some of these were no doubt seen later. But a good percentage of all species (perhaps 1/3 or more), are seen on only one or two nights during the season. So, I have something to look forward to this year when we will be blessedly without the cicada horde.

Moths / Cicadas
I didn't mean to imply that the moths had anything to do with the cicada's *dis*appearance; I was just wondering if it was coincidence that I saw this moth for the first and only time during the emergence of the cicadas. I thought that perhaps the cicadas attracted the moth.
Sorry to hear the cicadas complicated your mothing; we found them fascinating and the fact that it's only once every 17 years makes it that much more enjoyable I suppose :-)

Probably too late for a comment but...
Maybe since this was the first time you have seen this type of moth does relate to Brood X cicadas you experienced last year.

Since the predators that probably normally prey on this moth also prey on other insects as well, ie; birds, moles and other small animals, simply were not interested in eating this moth. Their appetite was temporarily satiated due to the abundance of Periodical Cicadas last year.

Predator satiation is a true effect and is a key component that helps Periodical Cicadas survive to carry on the next brood. Actually it has been theorized that only 1% of Periodical Cicadas survive long enough to mate.

There's no reason that insects of other species benefit from Predator satiation as well. So it wasn't because the Cicadas attracted the moth but that it was probably due to predators that normally prey on the moth just weren't interested in eating it because they were full up on Periodical cicadas. :)

Comment viewing options
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click 'Save settings' to activate your changes.