This Polyphemus Moth landed on the outer surface of the screen of our balcony-door, one night in May 2000, in Bloomington, Indiana. We had never seen such a huge butterfly before! We estimated its wingspan should be around 11 cm (4.5 inches). Dad checked his book later and read that it may reach up to 14 cm (5.5")! The moth flutterred on the screen for awhile, trying to get to the light in the room, then maybe got tired and landed flat on the balcony floor, with wings open. Dad went out as quietly as he could, and shot this beautiful picture (with a flashlight). The under-part of the moth, which we could see most of the time from inside the room, looks grayish-brownish.
Polyphemus takes its name from a Cyclops, a one-eyed giant in Greek mythology (a character in Homer's Odyssey). Now, the truth is we see two "eyes" (plus two smaller ones) painted on its wings, not one, so we don't get it why it should have the name of a Cyclops.
Life on Earth