moth question.

Mike Soukup mikayak at
Fri Jan 15 17:04:05 EST 1999

In response to your questions.  First, the moth in question is called a
Ployphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus).  It is a common moth across many
parts of the US.  It is in the family of Giant Silkmoths (Bombycidae).
And, as an aside, it was named for the one-eyed giant that tried to
capture Ulysses in his voyage back home from the Trojan War.   Yes, it
was "supposed" to stay outside and freeze in the winter.  It would not
have hatched had this been so.  This process of overwintering in a
cocoon or chrysalis is called "diapause".  This moth has up to several
broods or generations per year.  The earlier generations spin cocoons
and hatch in a few weeks.  The final generation each year spins a
cocoon, goes into diapause, stays the winter in the cocoon and emerges
the following year.  And, no - these moths do not migrate.  In fact,
they only live "about 1 week...maybe two".  So, the adult will not live
until warmer weather.   It is a very nice moth and I'm sure, with a
little effort, you could find a female at a light next spring, get eggs
from her, and raise many of them.  If you need any more info, just
contact me directly.

Enjoy your buddy!
Mike Soukup
mikayak at
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