When its wings are folded ...

When its wings are folded ...

When its wings are folded, the Io moth (Automeris io) probably wouldn't warrant a second glance; however, when its wings are extended to reveal the huge predator-deterring eyespots on its hindwings, it definitely leaves an impression!

These beautiful moths belong to the family Saturniidae, and they can be found throughout the east coast and into the midwest. We looked at another moth from this family back in early June: Callosamia angulifera, the tulip tree silkmoth.

Like all members of the family Saturniidae, adult Io moths do not eat and don't even have working mouthparts. The caterpillars, on the other hand, eat the foliage of a wide variety of plants. As the caterpillars grow older, they turn from orange to neon green and sprout dozens of painful, venomous spines! The adults, however, are perfectly harmless.

If you'd like to spot an Io moth, keep your eyes peeled during the first few hours of the night; they're strictly nocturnal, but they don't stay up too late! #BenInNature

This post brought to you by VMNH Corporate Supporter The Lester Group.

Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. While he is working from home, Administrator of Science Ben Williams is venturing outdoors each day to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world.

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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