What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Moth Identification
April 25, 2010
I need help identifying a very large moth. The moth was found in Asheboro, North Carolina.
Sheryl McIver
North Carolina, Asheboro, Randolph County

Cecropia Moth

Hi Sheryl,
Your comely moth is a Cecropia Moth, and judging by the shape of the antennae, she is female.  Male Giant Silk Moths have more developed, feathery antennae to better sense the pheromones of the female.  Giant Silk Moth, including your Cecropia Moth, do not feed as adults, and they only live a few days, long enough to mate and lay eggs.

Thank you for your response so quickly.  I found it yesterday….kept it overnight so my son and I could observe it (it was raining hard last night, so I didn’t really want to let it go in the hard rain anyway), and now what to do with ALL THESE EGGS!!!  I’ve been searching online and have discovered that the success rate is about 50%.  Is this accurate in your opinion?

Hi Again Sheryl,
We are not certain what you mean by success rate.  Raising 50% of eggs to maturity seems like a phenomenal success rate.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on leaves of various trees and shrubs including alder, apple, ash, beech, birch, box-elder, cherry, dogwood, elm, gooseberry, maple, plum, poplar, white oak, willow.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

14 Responses to Cecropia Moth

  1. jennifer says:

    I live I Terre haute , Indiana and have never seen anything like this. I wenttothe gas station I pulled up next to what I thaught was a bird. Nope it was this scared me. the wings was bigger then dollar bills and its body is bigger then a normal sizebic lighter.

  2. Ted Schwab says:

    I found the same moth in Deer Park , Washington. A little north of Spokane

  3. robert m says:

    Found one today in longview tx. Friggin huge!!!!! Marked identical to cecropia pictured at top of this page

  4. Kelvin Olson says:

    I saw a Cecropia moth this weekend in southern Minnesota, it’s coloration was slightly different – lighter at the wing edges but all the other distinguishing markings were there as well as the large size

  5. Sharon Hazelton says:

    Had one of these in my compost bin yesterday here in southern Michigan. They are so colorful. It’s sad they only live a few days.

  6. Cindi Z says:

    I have one on my brick this morning, in Choctaw, OK.

  7. Tina Capriotti says:

    Found one today in Murrieta, CA – it’s a male. It’s enchanting to watch. Better than poetry.

  8. Annette Carstensen says:

    I just found one today on my door, she is resting on my WELCOME sign. I’m located in Yreka, a far Northern California town. She’s beautiful & her wings have perfect Nike symbols.

    • bugman says:

      The Cecropia Moth is an eastern species, though we have received one report of a Cecropia Moth from California that we suspect was released by a collector. It is also possible that once introduced to California, Cecropia Moths might become naturalized. It is far more likely that you encountered a western relative, the Ceanothus Silkmoth.

  9. Paul Guthrie says:

    I had one identical as the top photo, but larger than the photo, it was on a brick window ledge, it covered over 3 bricks, at the very least, 8” do they get that large, I’ve got a photograph of it,my Mom took it about 10-15 years ago!
    Just wondering, thanks and GOD BLESS!
    Sincerely. Paul

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