In addition to its remarkable size, North America's largest native moth, boasts brilliant colors, distinctive patterns, and curvy shapes.
The sheer magnitude of the Cecropia Silkmoth amazes observers. This native moth can cover the palm of a large hand with its generous wingspan of about 15 cm (~6 inches). The moth is brown near the hairy orange and white body and head. Each forewing and hindwing has an ivory mark ringed in orange and black in the center of this brown area. White and orange lines cross all the wings near the center. A large black and blue eyespot sits at the upper corner of each forewing. An ivory and beige border undulates along the edges. Legs are furry and bright red-orange.
Caterpillars have 5 instars, each with a slightly different appearance. Early caterpillars are completely black with black spiky hairs. They become pale with black hairs and dots. Later, they are green with yellow bumps with black spikes. Mature caterpillars are plump and fleshy with light blue thorns where the bumps used to be. A silk cocoon forms on the stem of a host plant and the magnificent winged adult emerges. Hosts include a variety of popular trees like maple, willow, oak,and pine as well as other flowering plants like honeysuckle. Threats to the population of Cecropia Moths include a parasite that eats caterpillars from the inside out, viral pathogens, as well as hungry squirrels, pollution, inadvertent insecticide poisoning, and habitat loss due to urbanization.
Scientific Name: Hyalophora cecropia
Other Name(s): Cecropia Moth, Robin Moth
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 110mm to 150mm (4.29in to 5.85in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.