Io Moth, A Feminine Version

Automeris Io is a moth species that we see sometimes in the yard, one whose stunning appearance makes us stop what we’re doing to fully appreciate. You may already have seen the male Io Moth post from a few weeks back, the one that over-wintered in our kitchen and emerged to quickly fly off and away.

The males and females look very different indeed.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Here is the female, right before she peed on me for the opening bug-in-hand photo. (You’d pee too if a giant came and picked you up!)

Trying To Sleep
Io Moth, Female

ZAM! Be Gone, Intruder!!
Beware My Giant ‘Eyes’

Io Moth/Caterpillar Facts:

  • Female pupa are slightly larger than the male ones
  • Caterpillars feed on the Hackberry, Pear, and Redbud trees on our property, and also Sugarberry, Willow, and Blackberry
  • Males have feathery antennae (for receiving pheremone signals from females) which females lack
  • The eye spots are intended to shock and scare away predators
  • Caterpillar of the Io moth have stinging spines which release venom upon touch (erucism) — OUCH!! If you see a fuzzy green caterpillar with red stripes, do not handle it
  • As an adult, the moth’s single purpose is to propagate the species ASAP — they mate, lay eggs, then die
  • Adult moths are both nocturnal and vestigial — no mouth parts

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