I have been creating a collection of moth photos, and I am very excited to introduce to you several kinds of large moths in our area. These tremendous moths, despite their size, are rarely seen due to their nocturnal behaviors. They are much more lovely than you would expect from the porch light sightings where we commonly get a glimpse.
My four moths all come from the order of Lepidoptera but will represent some different families within that large encompassing order. First, lets look at the Saturniidae family. Saturniids include the largest of the moths including giant silk moths like this Polyphemus Moth.
It is easy to distinguish between males and females. The above image is of the female with less feathery antenna and below is a male with very pronounced and bushy antenna. They detect the pheromones of the female.
Males will fly for miles in one night to find a female.
My next moth is from the same order and family, but it is the only moth with this color pattern. This yellow beauty is the Imperial Moth.
This is the only moth to be yellow with a tan/lavender or brown/pink pattern on it’s wings.
The caterpillars of the imperial moths dig underground to form their cocoons so you will not find them hanging on vegetation in your yard.
This one was missing an antenna when I found it. I wondered if that would affect his quality of life. However, I found that these moths do not live long as adults. In fact, when they reach the adult phase, their mouth parts are so greatly reduced that they do not feed. They focus on reproduction and live only a week or more.
My next two moths are still in the Lepidoptera order, but come from the Sphingidae family which includes hawk moths, sphinx moths, and hornworms.
This is the Pandorous Sphinx Moth.
These moths fly at dusk and have an incredible camouflage pattern.
These adults drink nectar and are sometimes seen in meadows or along forest lines in the evening.
When adults emerge from the cocoon, they pump their wings to disperse fluid and extend them.
Although the caterpillars stage is destructive due to its ravenous nature. This guy has been known to devour even poison ivy which is a big plus to most folks.
Also in this family is the Big Poplar Sphinx Moth.
Another guy with one sad looking antenna. I had a hard time researching this one.
This was an unusual find. I had a hard time identifying this one.
To identify this one, I have contacted an expert in this field, and he has already responded. My guess was close. When I identified this moth, I thought it was Genus: Pachysphinx and Species: Occidentals. This is more likely the Species: Modesta which would be found on the east coast. I am glad to have him correctly identified and excited to have my sighting logged and soon added to http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com!
For those of you who want the full classification to find out more…
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
No Taxon (Moths)
Family Sphingidae (Sphinx Moths)
If you enjoy my Macro work or moths- let me know!