Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Imperial Moth.
Updated: 9/18/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Imperial Moths are bright and beautiful members of a family known for its giants.
Few moths have both the size and colors of the Imperial Moth. That said, the two genders tend to have different ratios of yellow coloring making it possible to think they are different species. Females have more yellow, while males have larger blotches of pink/purple on their wings.
Once the Imperial Moth actually pupates into a winged adult, it has a rather short life span. In fact, adults 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 forms a hard, brown chrysalis when ready to pupate. In fact, the majority of the Imperial Moth's life is spent pupating, so caterpillars spend a lot of time looking for a safe place to plant themselves as they are utterly defenseless against predators during that time. 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.
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.