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Promethea Moth (Callosamia promethea)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Promethea Moth

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Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf- Bowen
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Image Credit: Darlene G., taken in Zelienople, Pennsylvania.
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With a wingspan that covers an entire hand, the gentle, gigantic Promethea Moth is a stunning example of Giant Silk Moths.

Updated: 07/12/2023; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The generous size of the Promethea Moth is the first feature that attracts attention, but the details on its broad wings encourage more interest. It has bold eyespots at the edge of the forewings. Dark brown color on the inner wings near the center of the moth is separated from light brown edges by a thin white line. Females are brown and lighter than males, who are almost black in color. This species is very similar in appearance to its relative, the Tulip-Tree Silkmoth. In fact, the resemblance is so close, pictures alone may not be reliable for an accurate identification.

The caterpillar of the Promethea Moth has a pale green fleshy body with two nubby red protrusions rimmed in black at the head, and a single yellow one at the rear. They feed on a variety of different types of plants, but generally return to the same kind year after year in smaller populations.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Patterned insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Saturniidae
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          Genus: Callosamia
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            Species: promethea

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Callosamia promethea
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 75mm to 95mm (2.95" to 3.74")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; white; blue; black; yellow
Descriptors: large; big; hairy; furry; flying; eyespot

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 75mm (3.0in) and 95mm (3.7in)
Lo: 75mm
Md: 85mm
Hi: 95mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Promethea 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 Promethea Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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