The Weekly Photo Challenge is: Yellow
Yesterday, I was sweeping my porch and swept up a beautiful yellow male Io moth. At first, I thought it was dead, but when threatened he flipped his forewings forward exposing the large eyespots on his hind wings.
Most people in Nicaragua are afraid of gusanos, or caterpillars. I had no idea why, until I researched the venomous sting of the Io moth caterpillar. Virtually the entire bodies of larvae are protected by venomous spines. When spines penetrate the skin, the tips break off and release the venom.
His eyespots have white highlights resembling reflections of vertebrate eyes.
He rested and permitted me to take his photo.
The adult Io moths are strictly nocturnal. They remain motionless during the daytime and mimic the yellow or brown leaves that are common here.
I set him on a blue bottle for a contrast. He didn’t make a fuss, and remained motionless for his photos.
That evening, when I checked on him, he had flown away…probably searching for a mate. The females always emit a pheromone to call the males from approximately 9:30 pm to midnight.
The life cycle of an adult Io moth is short-lived. The adults do not eat, and when the mating process is complete, they drop lifelessly to the forest floor.