The Polyphemus moth is big and beautiful. With a wingspan of six inches, its rear wings feature large colorful spots which look like eyes. The decoration confuses predators, who strike at the fake eyes and miss the moth’s body.
This member of the giant silk moth family is named for the Greek myth of Polyphemus, a cyclops who captured Odysseus on his return voyage from Troy, according to Homer. The name means “abounding in songs and legends.”
Polyphemus moths are common in Minnesota and across North America, a marvel of nature that lives all around us.
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Learn about the Polyphemus moth’s “songs and legends” at an event next Thursday in Scandia.
A following event will give an overview of how birds are doing in the state. These charismatic creatures can tell us a lot about the health of the environment. For example, the Eastern meadowlark, once commonly seen and heard in farm fields, pastures, and prairies, is experiencing a “precipitous” population decline across North America.
There just aren’t as many of the open country with year-round vegetation that the birds need. They are the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ list of Species in Greatest Conservation Need, and have been added to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service list of concern.
Via the Friends of Scandia Parks and Trails:
21120 Ozark Court, Scandia, MN (map)
$5 suggested donation
Nocturnal Gentle Giants: An Introduction to the Largest Silk Moths of Minnesota
Thursday May 23 6:30
Join ecologist and nature enthusiast Erik Mottl for an introduction to Minnesota’s giant silkworm moths. The natural history, conservation, and tales of very hungry caterpillars. Find out about the important role moths play in local ecosystems and the amazing diversity often hiding in plain sight.
Birds of the State, State of the Birds
Thursday, June 13, 6:30
How are Minnesota’s bird populations doing? Which species are increasing, which are declining, and why? Join University of Minnesota ornithologist and population ecologist, Todd Arnold, to learn about the factors affecting regional bird populations and what we can do to help.