The neighbor children were very excited yesterday afternoon. They had found a very large moth wandering around their carport, and were admiring it.
I was happy to see this fellow. He is a Polyphemus moth, named after one of the cyclops. It is a member of the silkworm family, and probably one of the largest moths in Missouri. The caterpillars feed on hardwood leaves, mainly oak, ash, hickory and sassafras. Goodness knows there is plenty for them to eat around here! The adults do not eat anything, do not even have a digestive system. They have about 5-7 days to find a mate and lay eggs before they die.
This one was nearing the end of its life, but still beautiful even though battered. It was happy to walk around on my hand as I took pictures of it. Notice that the eyes on the upper wings are transparent membranes, and so are the centers of the eyes on the lower wings.