West Virginia is Ground Zero for Giant Silk Moths

Giant silkworm moths

Imperial Moth

Giant silkworm moths
Location: Ghent, WV
July 5, 2011 10:02 pm
Is it common to find 7 or 8 different types of giant silkworm moths, in one spot. I feel like I’m being over-run this week by them. You do not have enough upload slots for all the pics! Sending a few samples.
Signature: Regards, Dwayne

Cecropia Moth

Dear Dwayne,
This could hardly be called common, however, if conditions were right, it stands to reason that multiple species would eclose simultaneously.  Perhaps you have a strong light source near a woodland that is attracting the moths.  We just returned from a trip to Northeast Ohio and that included a brief road trip to Chester West Virginia to visit the Homer Laughlin Fiestaware factory which was awesome, and the surrounding hilly woods were beautiful in June.  Seems like a prime habitat for many Giant Silkworm Moths.  We would love to post your remaining photos.  Please attach the best of each species to this response and we (and our readers) would be very appreciative.  Perhaps you should consider ecotourism for your area.

Luna Moth

WV is Ground Zero – part II
Location: Ghent, WV
July 6, 2011 9:05 am
This is in reply to your request for the best pictures.
Yes, there are 2 mercury vapor lights on the property, but most of the moths seems attracted to the house. Funny thing is you can go out about every 1/2 hour and the moth that was there has been replaced by a different one. You can do this for about 2 to 3 hours a night. Critters and insects of all types. Note – the Hickory Horned Devil is laying eggs.
Signature: Regards, Dwayne

Royal Walnut Moth laying Eggs

Hi again Dwayne,
Thanks so much for supplying us with additional images.  The Royal Walnut Moth laying eggs is a nice addition, and we just posted our first photo this year of the caterpillar of the species, the Hickory Horned Devil.  We especially love your photo of the male Io Moth who appears to be winking.

Winking Male Io Moth

The blurry photo is a member of the genus Callosamia, and they can be difficult to distinguish from one another even if the images are sharp.  Our guess is a Tulip Tree Silkmoth, though we would not rule out a Prometheus Moth.  Thanks again for supplying us with this marvelous documentation which we have featured.  We are certain there are many young insect enthusiasts out there begging their parents to take them on a summer holiday to hilly West Virginia.

Callosamia species: Tulip Tree Silkmoth or Prometheus Moth???

3 thoughts on “West Virginia is Ground Zero for Giant Silk Moths”

  1. Thank you for this post, helped me identify two giant moths I was surprised to see during the day outside a grocery store (strong lighting outside a wooded area) in Warren County, Virginia: Imperial moth and Royal Walnut Moth.


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