Polyphemus Moth Emerges

July 20, 2013

Mike Coll, Preserve Manager

Photo: Mike Coll

Photo: Mike Coll

The polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus), is one of North America’s giant silk moths. I found this one as a caterpillar last fall crawling around inside the barn here at Hildacy Preserve. I gave it some oak leaves to eat and it made a cocoon in which it stayed all winter until the start of June when it emerged. The moth is about six inches from wingtip to wingtip and it has translucent “windows” in its wings.

This beautiful moth just goes to show that not all caterpillars are “bad” nor will they decimate every tree in sight. It all comes down to balance… fostering a healthy ecosystem will ensure that there are enough natural predators to control the caterpillar population.