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What are some facts about the Antheraea polyphemus?

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Quick Answer

Antheraea polyphemus is the scientific name of the Polyphemus moth. It's one of the biggest moths known, with a wingspan of between 4 and 5 inches. Like most moths, it flies primarily at night. It's found in the temperate forests of North America.

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Full Answer

The dominant color of the moth's wings can vary from yellow to red-brown, but the eyespots and patches on both the fore and hindwings make the moth distinctive. Indeed, due to these eyespots, the moth was named for Polyphemus, the king of the Cyclopes in Greek mythology.

On the hindwings, the eyespots are dark with interior spots of yellow. There are also dark patches at the very tips of the forewings. Males have feathered antennae, but other than that, the sexes look alike.

The Antheraea polyphemus caterpillar is almost as distinctive as the adult. It's a fat, segmented, green caterpillar with humps along its back. It seems to have a reddish brown "face." It also has raised red spots along its body from which sprout bristly hairs. It feeds on many types of broad-leaved, deciduous trees and shrubs, including birch, maple, oak and hickory, though it is partial to apple trees. In the southern United States, the Polyphemus moth has two broods a year.

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