|Polyphemus- Click to enlar|
The Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus) is one of the species of giant silk moths called Saturniidae. When they emerge and start climbing up the stem of a plant they look like a furry bug. Their small wing buds slowly inflate like an air mattress as they pump blood into the wing vessels. Within minutes their wingspan is six inches.
Now you can see the prominent eye spots on the hind wings. It is a tan colored moth, with an average wingspan of 15 cm (6 inches). It takes its name from another giant, Polyphemus who in Greek legend had a single eye in his forehead.
|Polyphemus Caterpillar Wikimedia|
The female will lay her eggs on a wide variety of tree leaves. This is fortunate as the caterpillars can eat up to 86,000 times its body weight as it goes through four molts (instars) before reaching up to four inches in length. Not only does the caterpillar have to eat to grow, it has to eat to sustain the adult moth for up to a week before it dies. On the other hand, the adult doesn't have to waste time eating.
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