The answer to last week’s mystery is polyphemus moth cocoon, Antheraea polyphemus.The polyphemus is named after the giant one-eyed monster, Cyclops, of Homer’s Odyssey, for the big false eyespot on each hindwing. Their big, fake eyes make them appear larger to predators and when threatened they will flip forward their front wings to expose the large eyespots as a deterrent.Adult polyphemus moths are large and butterfly-like, with an adult wingspan of 4-6 inches. Their color varies greatly. Some specimens are brown or tan, others are bright reddish-brown.The polyphemus is a common, hairy-bodied moth that bears two broods a year in Maryland. Larvae are bright translucent green, with convex segments. Inside of each cocoon is a dark brown pupa which the adult moth will emerge from.Mystery Monday is sponsored by the Spy Newspapers and Adkins Arboretum.
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