Currently viewing the category: "Giant Silk Moths"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Giant Moth in San Diego
Location: San Marcos, CA
March 26, 2017 10:54 am
My neighbor found this giant moth outside her door. It has 4 wings like a butterfly and I have scoured the internet to find it to no avail. A friend of mine believes it is a type of sphinx moth. But curiousity has me trying to figure this mystery out.
Signature: Michelle S

Ceanothus Silkmoth

Dear Michelle,
This is a Ceanothus Silkmoth, and we have gotten several submissions this year from Southern California.  We suspect that the wetter winter led to more vegetation, and more food for caterpillars.  This will ensure better survival rates and more moth sightings.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What magical creature is this?
Location: Middle of Austria
March 24, 2017 5:18 am
Hi Daniel! I found this beautiful moth today on the tiles of an underground passageway at the local train station (middle of Austria). The temperature was in the 40s, so the moth was pretty sluggish. I rescued it from being stepped on and spent a good 5-10 minutes communing with it before I put it on a tree. What really impressed me was the range of colors, and the fact that the “eyes” look like they were done with silver cloisonne. Can you tell me what this magical creature is?
Signature: N. Fritz

Female Emperor Moth

Dear N. Fritz,
A catchy subject line is always the best way to get our attention and to stand out from much of the chaff we receive, and your “magical creature” reference immediately caught our attention.  This is a female Emperor Moth in the genus
Saturnia.  It might be Saturnia pavonia, a species pictured on Moths of Europe where it states:  “Female Emperor moths possess an organ at the tip of their abdomen from which they disseminate pheromones to attract the day-flying males. A single freshly emerged female can attract as many as 70 males, which can detect the pheromones from distances of a kilometre or more away, using their strongly pectinated antennae as “radar” to home in on the female.  The females are heavily laden with eggs so are unable to fly very far, and after mating lay most of their eggs very near the spot where they emerge. After laying 100 or so eggs they have lightened their load sufficiently to enable them to fly, but unlike the males they fly by night. It takes them about 2-3 days to complete egg laying.  Neither sex has a proboscis, so the moths are unable to feed, and only live until their body fats are exhausted – i.e. about 4 or 5 days.”  The Saturniidae of the Western Palaearctic also has information on the Small Peacock Moth.  A similar looking larger species found in Europe is the Giant Peacock Moth, Saturnia pyri, which is pictured on Saturniidae of the Western Palaearctic where it states:  “Most adults emerge in the late morning, with females calling that same night, often from the base of trees up which they have climbed. Pairing takes place just before midnight and lasts for about 22 hours. After separation, the male flies off in search of another mate. If possible, the female climbs to the highest vantage point possible before launching herself clumsily towards the nearest shadow on the horizon which, often as not, is a tree. The reason for this strange behaviour is that most females carry too many eggs at first and are ‘bottom-heavy’. This stop-start process continues until about 30 eggs have been deposited, usually in chains of five to eight on the trees’ branches or trunk. The rest of the eggs are laid on the leaves and twigs of suitable hosts.”  We will try to get exact species confirmation from Bill Oehlke.  Meanwhile, since you rescued this magical creature from stomping feet in the station and put her on a tree where she may attract a mate, we are tagging this posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.

Emperor Moth

Dear Daniel,
I’m honored to be a bug humanitarian! Somehow I intuitively knew to put this beauty on a tree. Thanks for posting the pix to What’s That Bug? and for enlightening me on the mating habits of emperor moths!
N. Fritz

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this moth?
Location: Carlsbad CA
March 17, 2017 11:58 am
See picture
Signature: Justin

Ceanothus Silkmoth

Dear Justin,
This is a female Ceanothus Silkmoth.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Moth or what?
Location: Louisiana
March 16, 2017 7:38 pm
What is this?
Signature: Shawn Keith Hyde

Luna Moth

Dear Shawn,
The Luna Moth is arguably the loveliest North American moth.  Like other members of its family Saturniidae, adult Luna Moths do not eat.  They live long enough to mate and reproduce.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large moth
Location: Corona, California
March 11, 2017 4:57 pm
We found a large moth (5″ wing-span) fluttering around the other night in our backyard, and was wondering what kind it might be. It landed and stayed in the same spot for over a day, until unfortunately it died.
Trying to look it up, to me it looked a lot like the Glover Silkmoth, but also looked kind of like a Cecropia. However, I couldn’t find where either of those moths live in Southern California where we’re located.
I know absolutely nothing about moths and hoped you could help.
Thank you!
Signature: MC

Ceanothus Silkmoth

Dear MC,
This female Ceanothus Silkmoth,
Hyalophora euryalus euryalus, is in the same genus as the Glover Silkmoth, hence the similarity in their appearances.  According to BugGuide, the range is:  “British Columbia, Canada south through the west coast states of the USA into Baja California (c. Mexico).  In California, found mostly west of the Sierras.”   Like other members of the family Saturniidae, the Ceanothus Silkmoth does not feed as an adult, living only long enough to mate and lay eggs.  We hope your individual found a mate.

Ceanothus Silkmoth

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: anisota virginiensis
Location: winter park, fl
March 3, 2017 10:55 pm
Is there any way to keep an adult one alive? I know they cannot feed, but as silly as it sounds..I’ve grown accustomed to one near my apartment and even walks on my hand..is there any way to have it survive longer than expected?
Signature: ?

Oakworm Moth

Oakworm Moths in the genus Anisota, like other members of the family Saturniidae, do not feed as adults, and if they do not mate and reproduce, they will not contribute to the gene pool for the species.  So, Oakworm Moths as well as other Giant Silk Moths will either die of old age, fall prey to a predator, or meet some accidental end.  Since the individual you are inquiring about is resting near your home, it should be protected against predators or accidents, and hopefully it will mate and reproduce.  A sheltered location is one means of extending the life as long as possible, though after a week, your individual should be considered quite old for its species.

thank you so much for getting back to me. it didn’t live passed a week, but it’s good to be informed. I appreciate the time you took to respond.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination