If you happen to leave an outside light on overnight at this time of year, you may be greeted by one of our silk moth species in the morning. This male Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus) was photographed at the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center one early July morning.
With a wing span of 4-6 sizes inches the Polyphemus is one of our largest and most beautiful silk moths. It is named after Polyphemus, the giant cyclops from Greek mythology, who had a single large, round, eye in the middle of his forehead. When threatened, the Polyphemus may flip its front wings forward and also often flap the wings exposing the large, hind wing eye spots — possibly to startle potential predators.
As adults the Polyphemus moth does not live beyond 5 to 6 days. From day one, until it completes it metamorphosis completely, it lives for around 70 days.