Polyphemus moth life cycle

More photos and information here.

Field Guide: Caterpillars of Eastern North America: A Guide to Identification and Natural History

Moth-related fiction (Because isn’t everyone looking for some good moth-related fiction?): A Girl of the Limberlost


  1. Oh, I *love* A Girl of the Limberlost!! I read it as a child and still have the battered copy on my bookcase. I take it down and read it at least once a year.

  2. That caterpillar (have to look that word up, the spelling always gets me for some reason) is so cool looking. I just showed Bracken and he was mesmerized!

  3. Girl of the Limberlost!!!!! I have my (81 yr old) mother’s copy and it is falling apart! But I really MUST read it again!!!

  4. Sorry, but this turned out to be a rambling story from my childhood – the mention of Polyphemus moths reminds me of so much…they are one of my favorite moths….

    My dad is a lepidopterist, and when I was a little girl we raised a whole bunch of them and released the adults. I can’t remember why – there was some project he needed them for and he had found a female that ended up laying a bunch of eggs that we cared for together. I would go with him to get fresh oak leaves for them to eat. It was so fun to watch them get bigger and fatter until they started pupating, and then every day when I got home from school I would run to see if they had hatched into moths yet. I remember how fuzzy the male moths’ anntennae were. When they started hatching we would walk down to the park and release them around sunset, and we had to be really careful to wait until it was pretty dark, otherwise birds could get them.

    One almost was eaten by a mocking bird once but we rescued it. The bird came back later and was turning leaves over, looking for it’s dinner it had lost. I will never forget holding those huge moths in my little hands and watching them vibrate their wings to warm them up and get ready to fly for the first time.

    Much later I learned that Polyphemus is the name of the Cyclops in the Odyssey, a story I often listened to on tape as a child but never made the connection. Anyway, sorry for the ramble!

  5. Great photos and thank you for the yarn giggle at the end – what a beautiful colour!

  6. Hooray for Girl of the Limberlost! I didn’t read that book until I was an adult, but I was still obsessed with wing-ed things for weeks after reading it. I love seeing how you and Jonny have fostered such a love for nature in your kids. Truly special. πŸ™‚

  7. Every morning I spent a bit of time scouring our tomato plants for hornworms. My kiddos love them, but it am not a fan of the damage they do. So off they go to the chickens, who love them dearly!

  8. Absolutely beautiful photos! Love that you found a yarn to match!

  9. ok BUSY DAY for sure!! I can’t believe you didn’t mention the polyphemus!!

  10. So very pretty and interesting! That book was great, I read it a quite a few years ago. It should inspire children to do their very best with their schoolwork!

  11. I feel the same way about caterpillars and moths/butterflies as many of your readers do about snakes. *shudder.*

    Weird, I know. Haha.

  12. Love those pictures of the caterpillar on hour son’s hand – beautiful! And what pretty yarn too. What is it and what will it be?
    Have a beautiful weekend!

    • The yarn is from Springtree Road. Sadly, she closed up shop. I don’t know what it’s going to be! I just love the color!

  13. That is one big caterpillar! We just have puny ones under the Tetons. I especially liked the yarn caterpillar. Thanks for the post.

  14. Amazing moth! At first, I cringed. But then revisited the pictures and was amazed.

    Just wound up a ball of yarn in a color similar to your green. Synconricity.

  15. Too funny. What a great shade of green yarn.

  16. I’m not freaked out by the snakes…but this…cringing right now. πŸ˜‰

    • Yes!

    • Ha! How bad is it? Do I need a caterpillar warning system? πŸ˜‰ If it’s any comfort, my kids definitely come home with more giant snakes than they do giant caterpillars.

      • Maybe?! πŸ˜‰ Being a mom of 5 boys, I have seen my share of snakes…like the time they had a “few” inside a container, left the house and neglected to tell me one had escaped…Fortunately, it decided to hiss at me in the middle of the living room…but, better than appearing in the middle of the night! Good times πŸ™‚

    • Yes! I was cringing. Snakes, I’m ok. Caterpillars of this caliber, yikes! Terrifying!

  17. lovely photos!

  18. Birdie Cutair says:

    The book sounds interesting. Love the color of your moth yarn. And I think a moth hat would be lovely. I hope I have something in a similar color in fabric for my quilting projects.

  19. Great photos!

  20. Lovely moth yarn. Will it be a moth shawl, a moth sweater, moth socks? Hopefully Mr. Moth will not grow up and come back to eat it. πŸ˜‰

  21. I do love visiting here and I have never left a comment…probably because I sometimes think that no one who is young with growing children wants to hear from an old lady. Forgive me, because I know that we are all connected. I love reading about your family and your daily triumphs and yes, the hard times as well. I see the love that connects you all and the challenges as well, and it gives me great joy to witness what you and your family do.
    When I read the title of your post I immediately thought of lovely old church music….Palestrina, polyphonic..joyous chants… Truly, I don’t think that I am too far off. Watching the miracle of that moth is seeing and “hearing” the miracle of the gifts of life…seeing your children handle it so gently is also witness to what is good and loving and what is such a gift from God to all of us.
    Perhaps I will learn to be a lot less shy here. May you all have a lovely weekend..it’s just around the corner.
    Thank you.

    • “Watching the miracle of that moth is seeing and β€œhearing” the miracle of the gifts of life” Beautiful words and so true! Thanks so much for writing!

  22. Those photos are so beautiful they belong in National Geographic!

  23. We kept a Polyphemus catipillar in an aquarium last winter. It was so wonderful to watch him build his cocoon and then to see him hatched and healthy after 8 months of waiting was glorious!

  24. Loved the yarn at the last photo…made me laugh at the end of my day.

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