Once upon a time, a million 2.5 years ago, I was in my ancestral homeland (Maui), and was graced with the presence of this beautiful underwing moth, in the Eudocima genus. I tried and tried to ID it for a while, and finally realized I couldn’t figure it out because (1) Hawaii isn’t included as part of North America in bugguide, which is fair enough, but also (2) this genus contains an invasive species (Fruit-piercing Moth, Eudocima phalonia) that the feds are claiming hasn’t been present in Hawaii since 2001 [link].
Lots of other moths in this genus look similar, and I don’t have the keys to figure out which one I met, but these underwing moths are still pretty neat!
Seen on Maui, HI, January 20, 2016 / Posted June 14, 2018
My Io boy! I found him as a caterpillar in October, he made his cocoon and pupated in early November, and he hibernated over the winter. Now it’s spring and he’s ready to get lucky!
I released him onto a mulberry sapling in the yard. The larger the moth, the harder it is convincing them to BE FREE JUST GO!! The ios are so sleepy.
April 20, 2018
Ask and ye shall receive!
@drearysighs and anybody else wondering: this is an io moth (Automeris io is the scientific name). The males and females are different colors so it’s easy to tell them apart! The males are yellow and the females are brown. In biology, this is called “sexual dimorphism” (when males and females look different).
They have eyespots on their bottom wing (hindwing is the technical term), which they will FLASH OPEN to scare you if they think you will eat them.
Below, please find some additional photos of males, females, a pupa, and an older caterpillar. They start out orange, then become yellow, then end up green right before making a cocoon and pupating!