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Cecropia Moth Caterpillar
Cecropia Moth Caterpillar

Giant silk moths (Family: Saturniidae, Subfamily: Saturniinae) draw their name from the fine silk they use to spin their cocoons which serve as protection for the pupal stage in their life cycle.

Their mouths are not fully formed, and do not eat during their short 5-12 day adult moth lifespan. Thus, silk moth caterpillars have to consume lots of vegetation, because they must stock up all the fat reserves the adult moth will need. Some exhibit realistic eye-like markings, and others have adapted the eyespots to form crescent moon or angular shapes or have lost their wing scales to create transparent windows.

Caterpillars feed on leaves of a wide variety of trees, including walnut, hickory, sweetgum, maple, oak, persimmon, willow and other trees.

When the moths emerge from their cocoons they live only long enough to mate and lay eggs, and then die.

Commercial silk is produced by the domesticated silk moth caterpillar, Bombyx mori.

Common silk moths found in North America
Four large, colorful moths found in North America: Luna, Polyphemus, Cecropia and Promethea

 

Common Silk Moths

Luna Moth

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Luna Moth in Texas

Cecropia Moth

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Cecropia Moth

Promethea Moth

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Promethea Moth

Polyphemus Moth

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Polyphemus Moth

Io Moth

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Io Moth

Spiny Oakworm Moth

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Spiny Oakworm Moth

Imperial Moth

Imperial Moth

 

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