The first Moth
of the Week of 2007 is the Io Moth, or Automeris io. This has been one of the most common moths at
both mothing sites, especially recently at Adam's house with six individuals coming to the light sheet in only two nights.
Only males have been represented however, as in this picture. The females can easily be told apart by their brown forewings
as opposed to the yellow of the males, as well as their typically larger size (about 2.5-3 inch wingspan for
males, 3-4 inches for females).
Io Moths belong
to the family saturniidae, or the silk moths. They are on the wing throughout the summer in Pennsylvania, but as in 2007
the males are usually the only individuals that come to the lights. Their caterpillars feed on sassafras and a variety
of other deciduous trees, and spin silk cocoons that are wrapped in dead leaves and spend the winter on the forest floor.