Species of the Week: The Io Moth

Photo by Mark Read

This week’s #SpeciesOfTheWeek is the Io Moth (Automeris io). This wide-ranging moth can be found from Costa Rica and up the eastern seaboard to southern Quebec. They are generalists that can adapt to a wide variety of habitats, including deciduous woodlands, meadows, forests, orchards, parks, and backyards. At Murphys Point, these moths typically emerge from their cocoons during June, with a bit of overlap into May and July. Adults live for 2 weeks and during this time, they look for mates and lay their eggs on host plants. Once hatched, the larvae eat continuously for a period of four weeks before pupating. The cocoons take 7-10 days to solidify, after which the pupae may emerge as fully-grown adults after a few weeks or, as is typical in northern latitudes such as Ontario, go into diapause for the winter. Adults vary in size, with a wingspan of 5-9 cm. These fascinating moths are known for eyespots on their hindwings. Whenever the moth feels threatened, they open their wings to reveal these eye spots – quite the deterrent to potential predators!

This entry was posted in Friends of Murphys Point, Murphys Point, Murphys Point Provincial Park, Species of the Week. Bookmark the permalink.

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