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Regal Moth (Citheronia regalis)


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



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Image Credit: Cheryl W.
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Image Credit: Lindsay M., taken at Buffalo National River, AR
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Image Credit: Peggy S. from Louisiana
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Image Credit: Scott L. from Butler, PA
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Image Credit: Jerry G. from Grand Bay, AL
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Image Credit: Lisa P. from Claxton, GA
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The striking patterns on the large Regal Moth make it easier to spot on the walnut and hickory trees it visits.



Updated: 08/23/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Striped and spotted, the Regal Moth can also add 'large' to its list of identifying characteristics. The orange and blue-gray stripes cover its wings. There is less prominent striping on the hind wings. The orange head and abdomen are densely hairy with white stripes. Pale yellow spots of various sizes dot the forewings. It is a member of the Giant Silk Moth family and can fill up the space of a hand.

This species of moth spends its summer nights searching for a mate. Eggs are laid on walnut, hickory, sweet gum, ash, and sumac trees. Caterpillars eat the foliage of their host tree and nestle in a shell-like cocoon made of earth, not silk like other species. The distinct appearance of the caterpillar has given it the moniker 'hickory horned devil'. Its body is studded with reddish-orange horns that end in black tips. Its body can be a variety of colors depending on the individual: green, brown, blue. Only one generation is produced every year regardless of the region.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Patterned insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Saturniidae
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          Genus: Citheronia
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            Species: regalis
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Citheronia regalis
Other Name(s): Royal Walnut Moth, Hickory Horned Devil
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 95mm to 155mm (3.74" to 6.10")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, orange, blue, white, yellow, gray
Descriptors: striped, flying, spotted, hairy
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 95mm and 155mm
Lo: 95mm
Md: 125mm
Hi: 155mm
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
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Regal 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 Regal Moth. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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