Ceanothus Silk Moth

Spectacular Moth… But What is It?
Dear Bugman:
My family loves your site, especially since we move often and recently moved to southern California. My four young kids have discovered all sorts of new bugs here – and I was so grateful to have discovered a potato bug on your site – the first one my children brought me had me more worried than the scorpions and black widows we routinely encountered in AZ.
This morning, this lovely moth was relaxing in our front entry. My husband thought he was a polyhemus, but he has white swoosh-shaped markings on his wings where a polyhemus has golden eyes. He was easily 5 inches wingtip to wingtip, with the thick fringe antennae of a polyhemus, and a furry brown and white striped body, very furry legs. What the heck is he?
We’ve let him go in a backyard tree and hope he procreates and becomes a regular site. We live in De Luz, California, sandwiched between the coastal climate of North San Diego County and the dry wine country valleys of Temecula and are hoping that this lovely creature is a native and likely to be seen again.
Sarah Smith

Hi Sarah,
Thank you for the nice letter. We are very happy to post your photos of the Ceanothus Silk Moth, Hyalophora euryalus, one of the Saturnid Moths. This truly spectacular moth is native and the caterpillar feeds on the Ceanothus Tree, or California Lilac. The adults do not feed.

4 thoughts on “Ceanothus Silk Moth”

  1. I found an injured ceanothus silk moth on February 19. His right wing is limp. I put him in a sheltered outdoor plant. Is there anything I can do for it?! I read that the moth doesn’t need to eat. Do I just wait for him to die? What do you think is the most humane thing to do?

  2. Found a beautiful Ceanothus Silk Moth on the front porch this evening. Odd as we are in central Oklahoma.
    Have pictures if you would be interested.

  3. There were 2 of the Ceanothus Silk Moths on our Bug Zapper
    5-08-19 at 7am. They can`t get zapped they are too large to get in. They were mating all day and the next morning.
    This morning 5-10 only one was still clinging to the Zapper.
    Later in the day it moved and is clinging to a electric wall
    outlet by the front door. The large one has a 5″ wing span, I assume it must be the female. We are in Northern Nevada in Gardnerville. I know what Ceanothus is, just never seen it here growing unless another variety of it?


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