Antheraea polyphemus is one of North America’s largest moths with a wingspan of four to six inches. Part 1. Journal of Insect Physiology 17: 1735-1739. Princeton, New Jersey. 1092 pp. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 34(1): 61-63. Also, the much larger developing antennae of male pupae touch each other at the mid-ventral line while those of female pupae do not. In the late 1950s, amateur lepidopterist Gary Botting hybridized the Polyphemus moth (then known as Telea polyphemus) with Antheraea yamamai from Japan and, later, Antheraea mylitta from India by transferring the pheromone-producing scent sacs from female "T. polyphemus" to the Antheraea females and allowing T. polyphemus males to mate with them. The upper surface of the wings is various shades of reddish brown, gray, light brown or yellow-brown with transparent eyespots. Miller TA, Machotka SV. The map below showcases (in blue) the states and territories of North America where the, The logo, its written content, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and is protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. 2735 pp. Hruska JF, Felsted RL, Law JH, Berger E, Kafatos FC. Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 33: 261-264. Attachment by a peduncle may be more common in the South (Wagner 2005). Eggs are laid singly or in groups of two or three on leaves of the host plant (Opler et al. New York) 479 pp. 1996. Photograph by Donald W. Hall, University of Florida. In captivity, they will lay their eggs on any substrate. Effect of photoperiod on the incidence and physiology of diapause in two saturniids. The influence of temperature on the photoperiodic regulation of diapause in saturniids. Gainesville, Florida. The pattern on the hindwings of the Polyphemus moth resembles that on the head of the great horned owl (Bubo virginianus). Sex-related morphological characters in larvae of. The species is widespread in continental North America, with local populations found throughout subar… 2012. 4) Spun on ground among fallen leaves, grasses or herbs. Villiard P. 1975. Figure 10. Late instar larva of polyphemus moth, Antheraea polyphemus (Cramer). Ottawa, Canada. One of its most distinctive mechanisms is a distraction display that serves to confuse, or simply distract, predators. Distraction patterns are believed to be a form of mimicry, meant to misdirect predators by markings on the moths' wings. Virginia Museum of Natural History. Also, during the first day after emergence, the moth voids the liquid meconium which is composed of the breakdown waste products of the old larval tissues. This involves the large eyespots on its hindwings, which give the moth its name (from the cyclops Polyphemus in Greek mythology). Kept in a cage, the male and female tend to ignore each other, unless a food plant (particularly oak leaves) is present. The life cycle of the moth is much like that of any other Saturniidae species. Two broods generally hatch each year throughout the United States, one in early spring and one in late summer. [citation needed], First-instar caterpillar reared on post oak. Each instar is slightly different, but on their fifth and final instar, they become bright green with silver spots on their sides. After Botting consulted with genetic statistician J.B.S. The dark area of the anal plate extends as a line part way across abdominal segment nine. Princeton University Press. Males have smaller bodies than females, and their plumelike antennae are larger than those of females. The material presented across this site is for entertainment value and should not be construced as usable for scientific research or medical advice (insect bites, etc...) Please consult licensed, degreed professionals for such information. Maximum reported dimensions in millimeters are 2.4 × 2 × 1.52 (length × width × height) (Peterson 1965). There is considerable variation in color of the wings even in specimens from the same locality (Holland 1968). 1963. Various colors commonly associated with this Moth. Volume 17 of Arthropods of Florida and Neighboring Land Areas. The polyphemus moth also has been known by the genus name Telea but it and the Old World species in the genus Antheraea are not considered to be sufficiently different to warrant different generic names. 2) Attached apically by a silk peduncle (occasionally by a double peduncle) to a twig. First instar larvae are white with two black transverse bars on the tops and sides of each segment. O’Hara JE, Wood DM. Females release a sex-attractant pheromone and may attract males from a distance beginning late evening of the day of emergence. Tuskes et al. Photograph by Donald W. Hall, University of Florida. They feed heavily on their host plant and can grow up to 3–4 in long. Kafatos FC, Williams CM. Figure 8. The moths eclose and then must pump their wings with fluid (hemolymph) to extend them. Down East Books. Cremaster on posterior end of pupa of polyphemus moth, Antheraea polyphemus (Cramer). Caterpillars exposed to short photoperiods (8-12 hours) produce diapausing (overwintering) pupae while those exposed to long photoperiods ( >17 hours) produce non-diapausing pupae (Mansingh and Smallman 1967). The Wild Silk Moths of North America: The Natural History of the Saturniidae of the United States and Canada. 1980. Male Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus). Cocoon of polyphemus moth, Antheraea polyphemus (Cramer) with emergence hole. 496 pp. The sex pheromone has been characterized as a 90:10 mixture, respectively, of trans-6,cis-11-hexadecadienyl acetate and trans-6,cis-11-hexadecadienal (Kochansky et al. 1973. Their populations are regulated by natural enemies - including insect parasitoids and generalist predators. Squirrels have also been known to consume the pupae of Polyphemus moths, decreasing the population greatly. The name is because of the large eyespots in the middle of the hind wings. In the West, Native Americans sometimes fill the cocoons of polyphemus and other silk moths with sand or pebbles to make rattles by tying them to sticks or to their ankles for use as musical instruments (Himmelman 2002). Mechanism of activation of prococoonase from. Eyespots are also startle patterns, a subform of distraction patterns, used for camouflage via deceptive and blending coloration. It lays flat, light-brown eggs on the leaves of a number of host plants, including: Betula (birch), Salix (willow), Quercus (oak), Acer (maple), Carya (hickory), Fagus (beech), Gleditsia triacanthos (honey locust), Juglans (walnut), Pyrus (pear and quince), Prunus (plum, peach, apricot, cherry, etc. The Compsilura concinnata tachinid fly, introduced to North America to control gypsy moth, is one particular known threat to the North American native Polyphemus moth.[2]. When threatened they often rear the front part of the body in a "Sphinx" pose - possibly to make them less caterpillar-like to a predator. Photograph by Donald W. Hall, University of Florida. Cornell University Press. 2005. When it leaps, a flash of bright yellow appears on its hind legs, usually startling the predator away from its prey.) First instar larva of polyphemus moth, Antheraea polyphemus (Cramer). The cocoon contained an ichneumon wasp cocoon. The Polyphemus moth uses defense mechanisms to protect itself from predators. Camden, Maine. Both genus names were published in the same year. Supplement 30. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When threatened, adult polyphemus flip the front wings forward and also often flap the wings exposing the large hind wing eyespots -- possibly to startle potential predators. Moths and How to Rear Them. 1979), five species of ichneumonid wasps (Krombein et al. Photograph by Donald W. Hall, University of Florida. Insect Biochemistry 3: 31-43. A Host-Parasite Catalog of North American Tachinidae (Diptera).United States Department of Agriculture Miscellaneous Publication 1319. The scoli are orange to red, and the lateral aspects of the dorsal and sub-dorsal scoli are silver. Part 1. 1996) and will feed on a wide variety of species in captivity. Memoirs of the American Entomological Society. Division of Plant Industry. Tietz HM. 536 pp. Hruska JF, Felsted RL, Law JH. Color patterns can range from a reddish cinnamon to a dark brown, but are almost always a shade of brown. 2005. Older instars eat whole leaves and then sever the petioles to drop them to the ground (Tuskes et al. Catalogue of the Tachinidae (Diptera) of North America north of Mexico. The upper surface of the wings is various shades of reddish brown, gray, light brown or yellow-brown with transparent eyespots. Photograph by Donald W. Hall, University of Florida. The most notable feature of the moth is its large, purplish eyespots on its two hindwings. ), Sassafras, Citrus, and Ulmus americana (American elm). Foodplants and cocoon construction in. There is considerable variation in color of the wings even in specimens from the same locality (Holland 1968). Ithaca, New York. Dover Publications, Inc. New York. Because of their ease of rearing (Collins and Weast 1961, Villiard 1975) and large size, polyphemus moths are often reared by amateur enthusiasts and also have been used for numerous physiological studies - particularly for studies on molecular mechanisms of sex pheromone action. A catalogue of the Nearctic Chalcidoidea (Insecta: Hymenoptera). Adults have vestigial mouthparts and do not feed. 1973. 1975). Heppner JB. On the upper surface, there are pink-edged white ante-medial and post-medial lines on the forewing and a pinkish white-edged, black post-medial line on the hind wing. 1996). 1965. (Another example of the use of startle patterns is the gray tree frog, with its bright-yellow leggings. If attacked, polyphemus caterpillars as well as those of many other bombycoid moths make a clicking noise with the mandibles - sometimes as a prelude to or accompanied by defensive regurgitation of distasteful fluids.