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Polyphemus Moth Emerges on Sesame Street

Entomologist Dr. Art Evans and WCVE Public Radio producer Steve Clark discuss the emergence of a Polyphemus Moth from a cocoon found just outside the radio station on this week’s “What's Bugging You?” Two WCVE Public Radio employees, Shawn Evans and Derrick Starr captured an image of the freshly emerged moth, its male suitor and the cocoon from which the female emerged.

The Polyphemus Moth, or Antheraea Polyphemus, is a North American member of the family Saturniidae, the giant silk moths. It is tan colored and has an average wingspan of 15 cm. One of the things that makes this moth so unique is its large, purplish eyespots on its two hindwings. These large eyespots are what led to the moth’s name inspired from the Greek myth of the Cyclops Polyphemus. And did you know the caterpillar of the Polyphemus Moth can eat 86,000 times its weight at emergence in a little less than two months? Small things can do amazing things in science.

You can see one of the world’s largest moths- the Atlas Moth- in the Butterflies LIVE! exhibit at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden now through the fall.

To find out more about Polyphemus Moths check out these websites:

  1. Butterflies and Moths of North America is a site about collecting and sharing data. Photos, descriptions and even a map to record sightings is included.
  2. Photos of the life cycle by Chuck Vaughn.

Want to know more about “What's Bugging You?”
Dr. Arthur V. Evans teams up with WCVE Public Radio producer Steve Clark for a weekly feature, “What’s Bugging You?,” which airs during NPR’s Morning Edition, Tuesday mornings at 8:35 a.m. on WCVE Public Radio. The program takes its name from one of Dr. Evans’ books “What’s Bugging You – A Fond Look at the Animals We Love to Hate.” Visit Dr. Evans’ Blog or Facebook pages for more insight into the world of insects.

Discover more stories like this at Science Matters

Photo by: Derrick Starr

Listen to the “What’s Bugging You?” segment: