(Click image to enlarge)
The Io Moth tends to rest with its forewings down, covering the large "eyespots" on the hindwings. When disturbed, they often suddenly raise the forewings, thus exposing the eyespots. Perhaps this helps them scare away potential predators.
Io moths are generally 2 to 3 inches across, and females tend to be more reddish or brownish than males, and somewhat larger. There is one generation per year in the northern part of their range, and two to three in the south. They occur throughout most of eastern North America.
The caterpillars feed on a variety of plants. As a child in Florida I remember raising them on azalea leaves, which they consumed voraciously.
The caterpillars are mostly green, with a red and white stripe running along most of their length. They also come equipped with stinging spines, which taught me to be very wary in handling them.
The adults do not feed. Io moths are members of the Family Saturniidae, also known as Giant Silkworm Moths, so named because of their size and the silken cocoons within which they pupate.