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Species Antheraea polyphemus - Polyphemus Moth - Hodges#7757

Antheraea polyphemus Polyphemus Silkmoth male - Antheraea polyphemus - male Florida Polyphemus - Antheraea polyphemus - female Polyphemus Moth - Antheraea polyphemus Antheraea polyphemus - female large moth - Antheraea polyphemus - female Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar - Antheraea polyphemus Antheraea Polyphemus Caterpillar - Antheraea polyphemus Polyphemus arrival - Antheraea polyphemus - female
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Bombycoidea (Silkworm, Sphinx, and Royal Moths)
Family Saturniidae (Giant Silkworm and Royal Moths)
Subfamily Saturniinae (Silkmoths)
Tribe Saturniini
Genus Antheraea
Species polyphemus (Polyphemus Moth - Hodges#7757)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Antheraea polyphemus (Cramer)
Orig. Comb: Phalaena polyphemus Cramer 1776
Explanation of Names
Polyphemus was the mythological one-eyed cyclops, mentioned in The Odyssey of Homer.
Wingspan 100–150 mm
Adult: large, brown, with a small round eyespot near the middle of the forewing, and a huge round or elliptical eyespot near the middle of the hindwing. Males (below, left) have much smaller bodies but much larger and more feathery antennae than do females (below, right). There is a lot of variability in this species.

Larva: body large, bright green, with red and silvery spots below setae, and oblique yellow lines running through spiracles on abdomen; diagonal streak of black and silver on ninth abdominal segment; head and true legs brown; base of primary setae red, subdorsal and lateral setae have silver shading below; end of prolegs with yellow ring, and tipped in black
Widespread in North America: southern Canada southward. Most widespread North American saturniid: found in all Canadian provinces except Newfoundland. Found in virtually every one of the continental United States
Deciduous forests, orchards, some wetlands. Adults (imagos) of both sexes frequent at lights.
In southern United States, adults fly April–May and July–August (2 broods); in northern part of range, adults fly from May to July (1 brood).
Larvae present March to November
Larvae feed on leaves of broad-leaved trees and shrubs, including birch, grape, hickory, maple, oak, willow, and members of the rose family.
Adults do not feed.
Life Cycle
Two or more generations per year in the south, one in the north. Cocoon (shown below) is often prominent in winter, left hanging from a host plant and easy to spot. Cocoons are also spun in leaf litter.

Females call (release pheromone) from about 10 pm to 4 am; the restricted hours aid reproductive isolation from other silkmoth species.(1)
Overwinter in this thick, tough cocoon usually enclosed in a leaf on the ground.(2)
Copulation only occurs in the presence of volatiles from oak leaves (the host plant).(3)
See Also
Adults of Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia) have a white line across middle of forewing and crescent-shaped eyespots - as do other species of Hyalophora
Adults of Callosamia species have an eyespot near the tip of the forewing, and usually have angular or wedge-shaped markings near the middle of both wings

Larvae of Luna Moth (Actias luna) are superficially similar but have a yellow spiracular stripe on the first 8 abdominal segments
Print References
Powell, J. A. & P. A. Opler, Moths of Western North America, p. 239, Pl. 37.6(4)
Tuskes, pp. 177-179, map 31, plate 22--adult, plate 6--larva, fig. 31--cocoon (5)
Arnett and Jacques, #250 (6)
Covell, p. 49, plates: 1 #15--larva, 2 #4--cocoon, 9 #7--imago (7)
Himmelman, plate A-5, note p. 116, discusses origin of name (8)
Holland, pp. 87-89, plate IX, figs. 10--antennae, 41--larva, 42--cocoon (9)
Internet References
Moth Photographers Group - species account with photos of living and pinned adults.
Caterpillars of Eastern Forests live larva image by David Wagner and Valerie Giles, plus description, foodplants, seasonality, life cycle (USGS)
Caterpillars of Pacific Northwest Forests and Woodlands live larva image by Jeffrey Miller, plus description, foodplants, seasonality (USGS)
Lynn Scott, Ontario live adult images plus description, foodplants, flight season
Georgia Leps pinned adult image
Dallas Butterflies pinned adult image and foodplants (Dale Clark, Texas)
Maryland Moths adult images and dates (Larry Line, Maryland)
distribution in Canada list of provinces (CBIF)
Works Cited
1.The Diversity of Life
Edward O. Wilson. 1992. Belknap.
2.Eastern Forest Insects
Whiteford L. Baker. 1972. U.S. Department of Agriculture · Forest Service.
3.Insect-Plant Biology
L.M. Schoonhoven, T. Jermy, and J.J.A. Van Loon. 1998. Chapman and Hall.
4.Moths of Western North America
Powell and Opler. 2009. UC Press.
5.The Wild Silk Moths of North America: A Natural History of the Saturniidae of the United States and Canada
Paul M. Tuskes, James P. Tuttle, Michael M. Collins. 1996. Cornell University Press.
6.Simon & Schuster's Guide to Insects
Dr. Ross H. Arnett, Dr. Richard L. Jacques. 1981. Fireside.
7.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.
8.Discovering Moths: Nighttime Jewels in Your Own Backyard
John Himmelman. 2002. Down East Books.
9.The Moth Book
W.J. Holland. 1968. Dover.