Today when I was exploring Asheville, I found one of our most spectacular moths resting on the ground, in the corner, against the cement near a pedestrian overpass over I-26.. I bent excitedly for a closer look and was THRILLED to see it was a Polyphemus moth–one of our largest and most attractive moths. It rested quietly, looking for all the world like it was dead, but I knew it was only sleeping.
The Polyphemus moth has a wingspan of 6 inches and is just one of more than 300,000 species of what’s called Lepidoptera–meaning butterflies and moths. Amazingly, more than 90% of these are MOTHS, though this fact is unknown to most people. The Polypheus has a distinctive yellow and blue eyespot on its hind wings–the reason for its name which comes from a one eyed giant in Greek mythology. I could see right away that this one was a female, as the male would have larger and more feathery antennae–in order to smell the pheromones that the female produces in order to attract a male for mating. I gently moved this sleeping female to the grass where I was sure no one would accidently step on her, took some pictures and then went on my way–happily, and filled with wonder at getting to see a creature most never even know exists.
What was the most colorful or cool moth you’ve ever seen?
Click HERE to read how you can attract moths to your yard so you can observe them closely.