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

Subject: Moth Maybe?
Location: South East. GA
April 20, 2017 9:08 pm
I keep seeing these around my house and I’m wondering could you please identify it?
Signature: Tim

Male Luna Moth

Dear Tim,
This is a somewhat tattered, but still very beautiful male Luna Moth.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Strange moth – Alabama 4/19
Location: Alabama (Enterprise)
April 19, 2017 11:58 am
Hello! I found an interesting moth I haven’t been able to identify via various lists. Any ideas? Hope you’re having a great week and thank you for your time!
Signature: Kate

Spotted Apatelodes

Dear Kate,
This unforgettable moth is a Spotted Apatelodes, and according to BugGuide:  “An odd-looking species, easily mistaken for a sphinx moth.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Cecropia Moth
Location: Lompoc, California
April 14, 2017 2:24 pm
We found one of these moths, figured out the name through your page, but it doesn’t seem to want to fly away. We noticed these egg looking things on its body. What are they? Should we keep it safe in a terrarium? If so, what do they eat?
Thanks for your help!
Signature: Susan

Ceanothus Silkmoth

Dear Susan,
Though this resembles a Cecropia Moth, that is an eastern species and this is a western relative, the Ceanothus Silkmoth.  Male Giant Silkmoths have more feathery antennae as that is the scent organ that allows him to locate a female through the pheromones she releases, so we believe this individual is a female.  Giant Silkmoths do not feed as adults, and they live for about a week on stored body fat.  Flying takes energy, and a female filled with eggs is much heavier, so she is reluctant to fly unnecessarily.  Often a newly emerged female will release some unfertilized eggs before attempting to fly, and we suspect that is what you have documented in your image.  Though the eggs pictured on Liang Insects are more brown, it is possible that freshly laid eggs are lighter in color.  If you keep her in a terrarium, make sure it has a screen lid.  She may attract a mate.  You might want to consider releasing her and letting nature take its course.  Again, she cannot eat. 

Ceanothus Silkmoth, presumably with eggs.

Ed. Note:  Since Ceanothus Silkmoths are currently in flight on the west coast, we will feature this posting for a spell.

Head and Antennae of Ceanothus Silkmoth

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Luna moth
Location: Atlanta Georgia
April 3, 2017 12:09 pm
I live near Atlanta. This Luna Moth has been on my porch for two days. Considering how short his/her life cycle is, he needs to get busy. Can anyone tell,the sex from the picture?
Signature: Tom

Luna Moth

Dear Tom,
The most obvious way to tell a male Luna Moth from a female Luna Moth is the antennae, which are much more developed in the male so he can sense the female.  Female Luna Moths are quite heavy when filled with eggs, so they may not fly much until they have mated.  An unmated Luna Moth may wait for a mate.  A male Luna Moth might not waste energy flying until he senses a female.  Alas, for some reason, the antennae in your image are not obvious.  It appears they are larger, hence that of a male, but again, the detail is somewhat blurry, so we cannot be certain.

Luna Moth: Male or Female???

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