Once the Imperial Moth actually pupates into a winged adult, it has a rather short life span. In fact, adults likely do not eat. Instead, they focus all energy and attention to mating before dying.
As members of the Giant Silkworm Moth family, Imperial Moths are relatives to the largest known moths in North America. Their caterpillar form uses silk cocoons. In fact, the majority of the Imperial Moth's life is spent pupating in that cocoon so caterpillars spend a lot of time looking for a safe place to plant themselves as they are utterly defenseless against predators while they pupate.
Their caterpillars are green or brown and quite spiky. White spots with black rings around them line the sides of their bodies, one per 'segment'. They feast on pine needles, oak, sweetgum and maple leaves. When they are ready to pupate, they wrap in silken cocoons and surround themselves in earthen chambers using plant matter to blend in.
A first generation of adults emerges in early spring giving time for a possible second generation to arise later in the summer in warmer climates. Imperial Moth adults are extremely attracted to lights, which is causing their numbers to decline. They remain visible to predators, like birds, in the light and are eaten, sometimes before having a chance to breed. Artificial illumination at night, like exterior house lights, street lamps and urban light pollution, are creating swaths of habitat that are now void of Imperial Moths.