Look At Those Eyes! Check Out Moth Watching.

October 3, 2021

Bird watching. Butterfly watching. Moth watching.

Moth watching? Yeah, it’s thing, and it’s moth season. There are are than more than 10,000 species of moths in the United States, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They’re not wildlife, but they are often tasty snacks for Florida wildlife.

A little more science…moths display what is called a “startle display”. When they are startled and feel threatened, several of moths unfold to reveal what looks like large eyes. It gives the little guy a chance to frighten a would-be predator.

One such moth is the Polyphemus moth (pictured above and below, except the yellow/rust colored one). It is a tan-colored moth that looks rather benign at rest. But when started, it opens its wings to reveal two large purplish “eyes”. With a wingspan that reaches six inches, it was named for the cyclops Polyphemus in greek mythology.

Many people think of moths as pests, but they are actually important pollinators for native wild plants and agricultural crops. according to FWC.

Moths can be seen in the daytime in the North Escambia area, buy many varieties can be seen after dark.

Pictured above and below: The Polyphemus moth, which has a wingspan that reaches six inches. Pictured first below is an imperial moth, about 4.5 inches wide, on a window screen. Pictured bottom: More photos of a Polyphemus moth. All photos were taken locally. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.


4 Responses to “Look At Those Eyes! Check Out Moth Watching.”

  1. Anon on October 6th, 2021 10:07 pm

    How do I post pictures as a comment? I got a pic of a mother that’s ready for Halloween. Looks kind of jack-o-lantern. Small but really pretty colors.

  2. Molino Miss on October 3rd, 2021 8:48 pm

    Great info, tks.

  3. Kane on October 3rd, 2021 11:44 am

    I’ve seen these guys all my life never knew what type of moth they are just always startled when you see them and realize “hey that’s a moth!” XD

  4. Bigblock345 on October 3rd, 2021 10:21 am

    GORGEOUS! Butterflies may get all the acclaim, but moths are the true workhorses. More robust, WAY more variety (shape, color pattern, size, you name it. I believe that butterflies have around 18,000 species worldwide. While moths have around 147,000.
    Fascinating to watch. Thank you Mr. William for the article and pics.

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