Weekly Photo Challenge: Yellow


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.
IMG_1397His eyespots have white highlights resembling reflections of vertebrate eyes.

IMG_5737

He rested and permitted me to take his photo.
IMG_5744The adult Io moths are strictly nocturnal. They remain motionless during the daytime and mimic the yellow or brown leaves that are common here.
IMG_5750I set him on a blue bottle for a contrast. He didn’t make a fuss, and remained motionless for his photos.
IMG_5755That 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.

39 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Yellow

    • Anita, the moths fascinate me in Nicaragua. I took the photo of the larvae a long time ago because my neighbors were freaking out when they saw it. I had no idea it was a Io moth caterpillar. Then, when I was researching the life cycle of the Io moth, I discovered that this was the Io moth caterpillar. Wicked spikes.

    • Thanks so much, John. Oh my! About the canal…don’t get me started. Construction on the ports is to start in two more days. The people living in the path are refusing to leave their homes. They haven’t been compensated yet, but the military is telling them to leave immediately. I’m really worried.

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