There are moths… and then there’s the Polyphemus Moth! This massive insect, a member of “Giant Silk Moth” family, regularly reaches wingspans of 6 inches. The specimen shown here was discovered in Central Vermont, but the range of the Polyphemus Moth spans a good deal of North America, from Lower Canada to Northern Mexico.
Large spots on the wings of the Polyphemus Moth look rather similar to eyes and it uses this intriguing adaptation to confuse potential predators. In fact, the term ‘Polyphemus’ is derived from the name of a cyclops in Greek legend. Apparently, it was thought that the spots on the moth’s wings resembled the eye of a cyclops… a peculiar comparison, since a cyclops had only one eye, while the wings of the Polyphemus Moth have ‘two’.