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Cecropia Silk Moth (Hyalophora cecropia)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Cecropia Silk Moth.

 Updated: 2/14/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




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.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Saturniidae
          Genus: Hyalophora
            Species: cecropia
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Hyalophora cecropia
Other Name(s): Cecropia Moth, Robin Moth
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 110mm to 150mm (4.29in to 5.85in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, gray, white, black, blue, ivory, rust
Descriptors: large, eyespots, flying
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
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
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
3
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
5
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
6
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.