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Forbes' Silk Moth (Rothschilida forbesi)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Forbes' Silk Moth

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Image Credit: Juan G. from Donna, TX
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The nocturnal Forbes' Silk Moth is a rare sight to behold in part to its late-night activity, large wingspan, handsome pattern, and small range.

Updated: 01/03/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Forbes' Silk Moth is a part of the Saturniidae family, home to some of the largest moths in North America. This species has a limited range, despite its grand size, and has only been seen in southern Texas and Mexico. Its rounded wings have four large transparent spots on them, two on each side. For this reason, its Spanish name is Cuatro Espejos meaning "four mirrors". The dark brown interior of the wings is bordered with a light brown and edged with a creamy white rim. They rest with wings flat.

Caterpillars are white, black, and yellow. White fleshy bodies have thick black bands studded with yellow bumps that are topped with spiky hairs. After feeding on leaves of ash and willow trees, they pupate and become winged adults. Two generations a year are produced with adults on-the-wing in early spring and again in mid-autumn. ©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Nocturnal insect icon
Patterned insect icon
Rounded insect body icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Saturniidae
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          Genus: Rothschilida
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            Species: forbesi
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Rothschilida forbesi
Other Name(s): Cuatro Espejos
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 110mm to 125mm (4.33" to 4.92")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; white; red; orange; black
Descriptors: four; spots; marks; night; nocturnal; rounded; flying; large; big

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 110mm (4.3in) and 125mm (4.9in)
Lo: 110mm
Md: 117.5mm
Hi: 125mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Forbes' Silk Moth may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Forbes' Silk Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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