Monday, March 14, 2011

Io Moth (Automeris io) Life Cycle

Female Io Moth: Tend to be a reddish brown color. White-filled, black and blue eyespots on hindwing are distinctive for this species.

Male Io Moth: Tend to be a more yellowish brown color. Were his wings open fully, you'd see the male also has the distinctive eyespots on his hindwings.

Io Moth eggs: Normally, the female would lay her eggs on a larval host plant -- and the list of host plants includes over 100 different species, but for some reason these eggs were laid on the framing of our porch.

Io Moth caterpillars emerging from eggs after approximately ten days. Early larvae (caterpillers) are gregarious (i. e. They stay together.). Early instar caterpillars are often seen moving around a host plant in a "train".

Final instar caterpillars vary from green to yellow. These caterpillars will leave the host plant and form a papery cocoon usually in leaf litter. They emerge from the cocoons as adult moths. In the south, up to four generations per year are possible, but only one generation is common in northern latitudes. (The above photo is by Sturgis McKeever via Forestry Images and is used in accordance with Creative Commons copyright protection.)

CAUTION: Io Moth caterpillars should not be handled. They have urticating setae (barbed hairs that break off and inject a poison). The degree of resulting irritation varies depending upon the amount of contact and the sensitivity of the individual. 

(Editors Note:  This post originally published on 11/7/09

Please visit ABC Wednesday to see and share more photos brought to you by the letter "I".



TexWisGirl said...

They're beautiful in every stage! The shot of the female is just gorgeous!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

How great that you have the whole family in your garden or I should say on your front porch.

Pat - Arkansas said...

Thanks for the rerun! Very interesting info.

Hildred said...

Lovely post, - missed it the first time around and so glad to see it now.

Roger Owen Green said...

ouch! but pretty.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Linda Bob Grifins Korbetis Hall said...


love your sharp sense on this.
well done.

bless you.

J.Rylie.C said...

So pretty and Interesting!

Please come and see my ABC Wednesday post, thanks!

ChrisJ said...

Beautiful moths especially with the eyes!

Unknown said...

What beautiful moths! How fun to watch the eggs then the beautiful green wiggly!

Crafty Green Poet said...

what beautiful moths and how nice to see the photo of the hatching caterpillars

Wanda said...

The first time my children watched a butterfly come out of it's cocoon, it was actually a lovely moth.

Your pictres are great.

MERYL JAFFE, PhD - parent, psychologist, teacher, author... said...

Oh how cool and creepy at the same time! Great post...great photos!


LadyDLuvLee said...

A friend of mine just photographed one of these in Florida. What a beautiful creature. Thank you for sharing.