Species Details

Antheraea polyphemus

University of Alberta E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum Read more about this collection »

Common NamePolyphemus Moth SeasonalityAdults are found primarily from late May to late June. IdentificationNo other species can be confused with this distinctive moth. The tan colouration with the transparent eyespots on the fore- and hindwings are unique. There is some variation in the ground colour of the wings, with some individuals tending to a darker grey-tan and little or no pink band on the outside of the subterminal line.
D. Macaulay image and Royal Alberta Museum page

Scientific Name Antheraea polyphemus Common Name Polyphemus Moth Habitat Deciduous boreal forest in central and northern AB, local in the parkland and prairie river valleys. Seasonality Adults are found primarily from late May to late June. Identification
No other species can be confused with this distinctive moth. The tan colouration with the transparent eyespots on the fore- and hindwings are unique. There is some variation in the ground colour of the wings, with…
No other species can be confused with this distinctive moth. The tan colouration with the transparent eyespots on the fore- and hindwings are unique. There is some variation in the ground colour of the wings, with some individuals tending to a darker grey-tan and little or no pink band on the outside of the subterminal line.
D. Macaulay image and Royal Alberta Museum page
Life History
Overwinters as a pupa in a large, silken cocoon. Although the oval-shaped cocoons usually fall to the ground with the host plant leaves they are wrapped in, they can occasionally be found in the winter still attached…
Overwinters as a pupa in a large, silken cocoon. Although the oval-shaped cocoons usually fall to the ground with the host plant leaves they are wrapped in, they can occasionally be found in the winter still attached to the host plant by a small amount of silk thread. These moths typically rest suspended from a branch or twig during the day, with their wings folded above their back. The undersides of the wings are surprisingly cryptic for such a large moth. If these moths are disturbed when at rest, they often drop to the ground, and flap their wings once giving the appearance of a sudden 'jump'. With the eyespots exposed, this makes an impressive display which may startle potential predators. Polyphemus was a giant cyclops in greek mythology, and the polyphemus moth presumably received its name to reflect the large eyespots on its wings.
Conservation Although there is some variation in the year-to-year abundance of this species, it is usually common Diet Info
McGugan (1958) reports larval collections from 26 different trees and shrubs, but over half of the records were obtained from White Birch (Betula papyrifera). Larvae also feed on Trembling Aspen, Red Osier Dogwood,…
McGugan (1958) reports larval collections from 26 different trees and shrubs, but over half of the records were obtained from White Birch (Betula papyrifera). Larvae also feed on Trembling Aspen, Red Osier Dogwood, and occasionally Pin- and Choke Cherry, Hawthorn, and Serviceberry. Other confirmed host plants in AB are willows (Salix bebbiana and Salix discolor).
Range The polyphemus is the most widely distributed silkmoth in North America, occuring coast to coast in southern Canada and the U.S., south to Arizona. Known as far north as Zama City in extreme northwestern Alberta.

Citation

Page Citation for Antheraea polyphemus

Page Citation

"Antheraea polyphemus, University of Alberta E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum." University of Alberta Museums Search Site, https://search.museums.ualberta.ca/g/2-263. Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Kingdom Animalia Phylum Arthropoda Class Hexapoda Subclass Insecta Order Lepidoptera Suborder Ditrysia Superfamily Bombycoidea Family Saturniidae Genus Antheraea Species Antheraea polyphemus
This hierarchy is created from our museum records, it may not always accurately reflect modern taxonomies.

Taxonomic Hierarchy for University of Alberta E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum