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The Moth With Eyes

One of my favorite North American moths is the Polyphemus moth. It is large with a 6 inch wing span. I recently found a hind wing of this species on a sidewalk here at Arbor Lakes.

It is easy to identify because it has a purplish spot on its each hind wing that resembles an eye. These eyespots are effective in scaring birds and bats. When disturbed, the moth flashes its “eyes” startling the predator. This moment in hesitation gives it enough time to slip away unharmed. Somehow this moth did not escape injury. Eye spots are not fool proof.

If this moth lived for a week, it would be a very old because once it emerges from its cocoon, its sole purpose to find a mate and procreate. It has no mouth, no stomach, no digestive tract. It gave that all up when it underwent metamorphosis in its pupa. Perhaps in its old age, it did not have sufficient energy reserves to flash its eyes. And here on the sidewalk is what’s left of a creature that hopefully, met its mission to continue the existence of this beautiful species.

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