Giant tarantula moths flying in the Okanagan, have wingspan of 15 cm

Mothra spotted in area

Mothra has been spotted in the region.

While it may not be the giant that battled Godzilla, today's Bug of the Week is one large moth indeed.

Tarantula moths have social media buzzing lately in the Okanagan and beyond as people marvel at the size of them.

Laurie Johnson sent in a picture of such a creature – with a wingspan of more than six inches.

While it may have an intimidating name, the moth is completely harmless, unless you have mottephobia, an anxiety disorder revolving around an extreme, persistent fear of moths and butterflies.

If you happen to spot a tarantula moth, consider yourself lucky, as they are quite rare.

According to Wikipedia, the polyphemus moth is a North American member of the giant silk moth family. It is a tan-coloured moth, with an average wingspan of 15 cm.

The most notable feature of the moth is its large, purplish 'eyespots' on its wings.

The species was first described in 1776 and is widespread in continental North America, with populations found throughout subarctic Canada and the United States.

Its caterpillar can eat 86,000 times its weight at emergence in a little less than two months.

Adult moths are only out at this time of year, from May until July. And they only live for a couple of weeks.

Have you had a close encounter of the creepy crawly kind? Send pictures to [email protected] and we may feature it on Castanet's Bug of the Week.

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