Cecropia Moth

Subject: Moth or Butterfly?
Location: Indianapolis, IN
May 6, 2015 11:35 am
My 8th grade science students noticed this “bug” today when we were outside collecting data for an experiment. We are curious about what it is. It is about 6 inches long wingtip to wingtip. We are in Indianapolis, IN. Thanks for your help.
Signature: Angela Fitzgerald

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

Dear Angela,
This Giant Silkmoth in the family Saturniidae is a male Robin Moth according to BugGuide, or a
Cecropia Moth, Hyalophora cecropia, named after King Cecrops who had the body of a man and the tail of a serpent.  We don’t know exactly what caused early naturalists cognizant of the binomial method of naming living creatures to name the lovely Cecropia Moth after such a hybrid, unless it has something to do with the enormous caterpillar of the Cecropia Moth.  Your individual just emerged from its cocoon which the caterpillar spun in the crook of your wall under the ledge.  We generally receive images of Cecropia Moth Cocoons on branches.

5 thoughts on “Cecropia Moth”

  1. An easy way to always be sure if it’s a moth or a butterfly is to look at the direction the wings hinge and where their resting state is. Butterflies wings always rest closed and hinge upward. Moths always rest open and hinge downward.


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