Where are Cecropia Moths Found? Discover Their Unique Habitats

Cecropia moths are quite a sight to behold. As the largest native moth in North America, they’re definitely a wonder of the natural world. You may have come across the beautiful, large wings adorned with striking patterns and colors in the past. But where can you find these impressive creatures?

Primarily, you’ll find cecropia moths in areas east of the Rocky Mountains. They make their home in and around hardwood forests, giving them plenty of habitat to thrive in. Keep an eye out for them during nighttime, as they are nocturnal and on the move after the sun goes down.

Of course, these stunning moths also have a fascinating life cycle. From an adult moth laying eggs to a developing caterpillar, and finally to the moth they become – it’s truly extraordinary to witness. So next time you’re in their territory, make sure to look for them and appreciate their captivating presence in our natural world.

Cecropia Moth Description

Physical Characteristics

The Cecropia moth, also known as Hyalophora cecropia, is a large and colorful insect. It is the largest native moth in North America and belongs to the giant silk moth family. The male and female moths have some differences in size and appearance.

Both male and female Cecropia moths have a wingspan ranging from 5-7 inches. Their wings are adorned with intricate patterns of orange, black, and brown colors, as well as distinctive eyespots. The body of the moth is red, with a white “collar” and white bands on the abdomen. The moth also has feathery antennae, which are larger in males, as they use them to detect pheromones released by females.

Life Cycle

Cecropia moths have a fascinating life cycle, including various stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult moth. Their life cycle is considered univoltine, with one generation per year. Here is a brief overview of each stage:

  • Eggs: Adult female moths lay eggs on the underside of leaves, with hundreds of eggs in a cluster. The eggs hatch into caterpillars after 10-14 days.

  • Caterpillars: The caterpillars are brightly colored, with a combination of red, green, and yellow. They go through several growth stages, called instars, before reaching maturity. As they grow, their color may change to black caterpillars.

  • Pupa: After the caterpillar reaches its final instar stage, it forms a tough, brown cocoon, usually attached to a twig. Inside the cocoon, the caterpillar transforms into a pupa, where it overwinters.

  • Adult moths: In the following spring, the adult moth emerges from the cocoon. Adult Cecropia moths are nocturnal and have a short lifespan, living only up to 2 weeks, during which they focus on reproducing.

To remember some key characteristics of the Cecropia moth, consider these bullet points:

  • Largest native moth in North America
  • Wingspan of 5-7 inches
  • Orange, black, and brown wings with eyespots
  • Red body with white collar and bands
  • Feathery antennae
  • One generation per year (univoltine)
  • Life cycle stages: egg, caterpillar, pupa, adult moth

By understanding the physical characteristics and life cycle of the Cecropia moth, you can better appreciate the unique beauty and biology of this remarkable insect.

Habitat and Distribution

Geographical Range

Cecropia moths are native to North America and can be found in various regions, from Florida in the south to Nova Scotia in the north. Their distribution reaches as far west as the Rocky Mountains1.

Typical Habitats

Cecropia moths thrive in different habitats, particularly in forests. They have a preference for hardwood forests where their host plants, such as oaks, cherry, beech, apple, and button bush, are commonly found2. These moths lay their eggs on the leaves of these host plants, ensuring a food source for the caterpillars once they hatch.

To summarize:

  • Cecropia moths are native to North America.
  • Their range extends from Florida to Nova Scotia and west to the Rocky Mountains.
  • They prefer hardwood forests where their host plants are plentiful.

Behavior and Adaptations

Daily and Seasonal Activity

Cecropia moths are nocturnal, which means they are active during the night. They employ this strategy to avoid predators and stay safe. In the spring, female cecropia moths lay their eggs on host plants like oaks, cherry, beech, apple, and button bush source. The eggs hatch into tiny, hungry black caterpillars within two weeks. During winter, cecropia moths are dormant as they overwinter in cocoons attached to tree twigs source.

Communication and Perception

Cecropia moths communicate through pheromones. Females release these chemical signals to attract males. They have large antennae, which are essential for detecting these pheromones. With their impressive antennae, they can sense pheromones from miles away.

Cecropia moths are also attracted to light, including porch lights and moonlight. If you find one near your home, it is probably drawn to the light. To observe these fascinating nocturnal creatures, try turning off your porch lights on a clear night and enjoy the show as they navigate the darkness.

In summary, Cecropia moths exhibit remarkable nocturnal behavior and adaptations, such as spring egg-laying, winter cocoons, pheromone communication, and light attraction. Understanding these features can help you appreciate and conserve these incredible creatures.

Diet and Predators

Feeding Habits

Cecropia moths mainly feed on leaves during their larval stage. They rely on a variety of host plants to satisfy their appetite. Some common trees and plants they feed on include oaks, cherry, beech, apple, and button bush. Besides, they can also feed on leaves from birch, maple, wisteria, willow, elm, and sassafras trees. Cecropia moths don’t have a specialized diet, so they find their next meal on many types of plants.

Here are some common plants that cecropia moths feed on:

  • Oak
  • Cherry
  • Beech
  • Apple
  • Birch
  • Maple

Predation and Defense

Young cecropia caterpillars face various predators, including birds and squirrels. In response to predation, cecropia moths have developed a unique defense mechanism: they have striking appearance that helps them to deter predators.

For example, bolas spiders are known to mimic the appearance of cecropia moths for deception. This mimicry provides the bolas spiders with a clever way of catching their prey.

Other possible predators of the cecropia moth include:

  • Squirrels
  • Birds
  • Stinging insects

The cecropia moth’s striking appearance and large size help deter predators and protect them throughout their life cycle.

Conservation and Importance

Role and Impact

Cecropia moths, belonging to the family Saturniidae within the order Lepidoptera, play an important role in the ecosystem. They are the largest native moth species in North America, with their impressive and intricate wingspan reaching 5-7 inches. These moths serve as pollinators for various plants, contributing to plant reproduction. Moreover, they are a source of food for many predators, such as birds and bats, providing a vital link in the food chain.

Threats and Protection

Like other members of the Lepidoptera order, cecropia moths face threats from habitat loss, pesticides, and parasitoids. The University of Florida has been researching the conservation of these moths, as they are an essential part of the ecosystem. Protecting their habitat, such as hardwood forests where they are typically found, is crucial. Additionally, avoiding the use of harmful pesticides and promoting natural pest control methods can help maintain their survival.

Impact on Ecosystem

Cecropia moth caterpillars feed primarily on leaves from trees, such as maple trees. They consume large quantities of foliage, which might seem detrimental, but their impact on tree health is usually minimal. In fact, their feeding behavior contributes to the natural process of decomposition, releasing essential nutrients back into the soil. By playing a role in pollination and nutrient cycling, cecropia moths help maintain the overall health and biodiversity of their native ecosystems. So, your efforts to protect and conserve these fascinating creatures will contribute to a thriving and balanced ecosystem for future generations.

Conclusion

In summary, Cecropia moths are native to North America and can be found from the Rocky Mountains to the maritime provinces of Canada. These impressive insects are considered the largest moth species in the region.

As a testament to their beauty, Cecropia moths display stunning features such as:

  • Stout, hairy bodies
  • Feathery antennae
  • Dark brown or gray wings with reddish patches
  • Reddish-rimmed, whitish crescents on their wings

If you come across a Cecropia moth, remember to appreciate its captivating presence and its place in nature.

Footnotes

  1. Cecropia Moth

  2. Species Spotlight – Cecropia Moth

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: Silk Moth?
Location: Muskegon, Michigan
May 26, 2012 12:42 pm
I was trying to identify this moth and came across your site. It seems I have found a silk moth. The unusual thing is I live in Michigan. I took this photo in my back yard May 26, 2012. I’ve never seen one of these before.
Signature: Bill J.

Cecropia Moth

Hi Bill,
This Cecropia Moth is in fact a member of the Giant Silkmoth family Saturniidae.  It is one of the largest North American moths.

Letter 2 – Cecropia Moth and resulting Caterpillar Hatchlings

 

Cecropia Moth Hatchlings
Hi Bugman…I photographed this cecropia moth on June 8/07 after it laid eggs and the eggs hatched on June 19/07. I really enjoy your site and appreciate how much work goes into keeping it going. I noticed you don’t have these eggs on your site so thought they might be a good addition.
Tom Rook
Brantford, Ont. Canada
www.stockfullofnature.com

Hi Tom,
Thanks for sending us your Cecropia Hatchling image. We linked back to your excellent stock photography site and we hope that doesn’t crash your server.

Letter 3 – Cecropia Moth

 

Moth? Butterfly? I think a moth.
Dear Lisa & Daniel,
I have sent these pix to several on-line sources, trying to find out if they’re fakes or not, but no one has bothered to reply to me. I have scoured every bug site I can find, to no avail. My sister & I both received them in e-mails; they are allegedly some sort of moth that hatched from a cocoon at Canadian Forces Base, Shilo, Manitoba, Canada. I was wondering if it would be possible to ascertain what sort of moth or butterfly it is? Has it, indeed, been photo shopped? I think it’s beautiful & would love them in our garden. We have no idea what fate befell it. My sister sent me your site, & I have spent days searching through it! What a wonderful, informative site! I’m just astonished with all the different bugs on here. I was warned in advance, (thank goodness!!!) about all the spiders! Ugh! I am the biggest arachniphobe I know!
Pam

Hi Pam,
This is a photo of a Cecropia Moth, one of the Saturnid or Giant Silkmoths. They do not feed as adults. The only way to attract the adults is with lights or to have one of the many deciduous trees whose leaves provide food for the caterpillars: ash, birch, alder, elm, maple, chery, willow, apple and lilac.

Letter 4 – Cecropia Moth

 

What’s a Cecropia moth doing in Nova Scotia Canada
Hi, I was recently visited by this beautiful moth thanks to your website I’ve discovered it is a Cecropia silk moth but its says its from California, I live in Nova Scotia Canada do you know if they are known to this area or just California. It was on our front porch all day and then it flew away during the evening. Sorry for the not so great picture but I’m petrified of bugs especially flying ones but this one really caught my eye it’s the prettiest bug I’ve ever seen. I’d appreciate any information you could give me. Sincerely,
Crystal Gurney

Hi Crystal,
Cecropia Moths are native to your area as well as the rest of Eastern North America. They are not found in California. Let us know where you found this misinformation on our site.

Letter 5 – Cecropia Moth

 

Is this a Sphinx Moth? Hi Bugman
We found this moth sitting in the sun in the center of our drive. (June 2 2006) It remained there for about 6-8 hours. We had to leave and when we returned it was gone. Could you tell me about it? We live in southwestern Ontario Canada. To be specific 30 minutes north of London Ont.Thanks
Deb McGrath

Hi Deb,
This is not a Sphinx Moth, but a Giant Silk Moth. More specifically, it is a Cecropia Moth and we got many photos in the month of June.

Letter 6 – Cecropia Moth

 

Moth/Butterfly
We found this "thing" on the window of our office this morning and there is some discussion as to whether it is a moth or butterfly. Its body is approximately 2 inches long and its wing span is approximately 4-5 inches wide. The picture makes it look darker then it is. It actually is a medium shade of gray with orange and white accents.
Melissa Victor
Seaman, Ohio

Hi Melissa,
What a wonderful image of a Cecropia Moth, one of the Giant Silk Moths or Saturnid Moths.

Letter 7 – Cecropia Moth

 

Summer Solstice (06/21/2006) Moth
We recently had this moth show up on the front of our office building in Medicine Hat, AB. I was wondering if you could confirm what type of moth it is? Thank you.
Sandra Cole

Hi Sandra,
This is a Cecropia Moth, one of the Giant Silk Moths or Saturnid Moths.

Letter 8 – Cecropia Moth

 

What kind of moth is this?
Hi there,
Your site has been helpful in indentifying lots of bugs I’ve found around my home! I was wondering if you could tell me what kind of moth this is that my daughter found on the sidewalk after a rainstorm? It was about 6 inches from wing tip to wing tip.
Thanks,
Carrie (Massachusetts)

Hi Carrie,
This is a Cecropia Moth, one of the Giant Silk Moths.

Letter 9 – Cecropia Moth

 

Identification of Huge Butterfly/Moth
Location: Moosic, PA 18507
May 28, 2011 9:07 am
Found this on a concrete wall outside work…The wingspan was about 6 inches across when opened…Never saw anything like it…Was just wondering what it was…Thanks
Signature: Pat Corbett

Cecropia Moth

Hi Pat,
The Cecropia Moth is frequently confused for a butterfly because of its large size and beautiful coloration.  The average person erroneously believes all moths are small and drably colored.

Letter 10 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: Huge butterfly
Location: Ruston, LA
May 20, 2013 7:35 am
What kind of butterfly is this? It was photographed in Ruston, LA (near Monroe), on 5/20/2013, around 9 a.m.
Signature: John

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

Hi John,
This is a Cecropia Moth, not a butterfly.

Letter 11 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: Large Moth
Location: Wnnipeg Manitoba Canada
July 13, 2013 7:55 pm
I had a visit from ’Mothra’ at work the other day in Winnipeg. It was a very large and beautiful moth. That’s my hand in the shot but it looked bigger in real life.
Please identify (Cecropia perhaps?) Love your sight and thanks!
Signature: Doug Waite

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

Hi Doug,
You are absolutely correct.  This is a Cecropia Moth.

Letter 12 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: Fuzzy/furry moth seen in Austin, Texas
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
March 27, 2014 6:59 pm
Hi there –
A friend saw this moth today in Austin, Texas outside a coffee shop, and I was hoping you could help me identify what sort of moth it was.
Thank you!
Signature: Mark Miller

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

Hi Mark,
This impressive Cecropia Moth is a male as evidenced by his very feathery antennae.  We thought a Texas sighting was a bit unusual as we think of the Cecropia as being an eastern species, but BugGuide indicates that Texas is the western end of the range.

Awesome!!  Thank you for the feedback Daniel  🙂

Letter 13 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: Luna moth???
Location: Exeter,RI
August 3, 2014 2:19 pm
Can you identify this moth. It was approx 6″ across. I took this pic at approx 5:45am in July in Exeter RI. On the sidewalk at a Starbucks
Signature: Dorne

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

Dear Dorne,
This gorgeous moth is a Cecropia Moth, and even though it is in the same Giant Silkmoth family Saturniidae as a Luna Moth, once a person can compare the two, it is highly unlikely to confuse them.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much for your prompt response. This is a beautiful moth!  I am going to do some reading up on it.
Dorne Jacavone

Letter 14 – 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.

Letter 15 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: Found in Altoona, PA
Location: Altoona, PA
June 1, 2015 8:16 am
Dear bugman,
This bug was found in a parking lot near a curb in Altoona, PA on June 1, 2015. It appears to have wings, short stubby legs, and antennae. We have no idea what it could be.
Thanks!
Signature: Ashaly

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

Dear Ashaly,
This impressive creature is a Cecropia Moth.  We will be gone from the office for a spell in June and we are postdating your posting to go live in our absence.

Letter 16 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: What kind of moth is this?
Location: State College, PA
June 2, 2015 5:15 am
Hi, I took this picture of a moth in State College, PA. Wondering what kind it is. Thanks!
Signature: Don

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

Dear Don,
We started getting images of Cecropia Moths,
Hyalophora cecropia, from various locations in the past month, beginning with southern sightings.  According to BugGuide:  “Populations of this species can be found across most of continental North America east of the Rocky Mountains.  Cecropia moths are recorded from the Maritime Prov. of Canada (Nova Scotia & PEI) south to central Florida and west across the Eastern Plains & e. Rockies.”

Letter 17 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: Large moth
Location: Northern Ohio – Seneca County
May 23, 2016 9:14 pm
My son came across this moth on our evening walk/run tonight (5/23/16). We live in Northern Ohio about 35 miles South of the lake in Seneca County.
Very pretty and large. It was neat to see. Just wondering what type of moth it might be.
Signature: Michelle Hoepf

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

Dear Michelle,
This is a female Cecropia Moth, and she is laden with eggs.  Like other members in her family Saturniidae, the Cecropia Moth only lives long enough to mate and lay eggs.  Adults do not feed.

Thank you for the information.  I appreciate it. I am glad I came across your website.  We learned about other moths from other posts and questions posted.   Thanks again for you help!

Letter 18 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: moth id please
Location: Baltimore, MD
June 9, 2016 4:47 am
I saw this on my way into the building this morning. Wondering if you can help me ID it.
Signature: Scott Powell

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

Dear Scott,
This beautiful creature is a Cecropia Moth.

Letter 19 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: What in the world?
Location: Williamsport, PA
May 31, 2017 7:49 am
Good morning from Williamsport, Pennsylvania! I was put planting the other day and found a red cocoon with what looked to be a stinger on the bottom of it, buried in the soil. I put it back and now this morning, this
appeared. I am not sure if it is related, however; what is this beautiful creature, bc I have NEVER seen one around this area!! Thanks for any insight
Signature: Angela

Female Cecropia Moth

Dear Angela,
This is a female Cecropia Moth.  Like other members of the Giant Silkmoth family Saturniidae, they do not feed as adults.  They only live long enough to mate and lay eggs, generally a week at most.

Letter 20 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject:  Interesting Moth Find
Geographic location of the bug:  Suburban town in Connecticut, USA
Date: 06/16/2018
Time: 09:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This moth (?) was found in early June on a warm, sunny day on the playground of a elementary school in Connecticut. I could not capture a better photo before it flew away, however it was VERY large. Out of curiosity, I did some research to identify the moth but had no luck. The only related species that I found were Atlas moths, but none were inhabitants of the area or displayed such interesting markings. Any ideas what this bug could be?
How you want your letter signed:  Moth Mystified

Cecropia Moth

Dear Moth Mystified,
This magnificent moth is a male Cecropia Moth.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: Silk Moth?
Location: Muskegon, Michigan
May 26, 2012 12:42 pm
I was trying to identify this moth and came across your site. It seems I have found a silk moth. The unusual thing is I live in Michigan. I took this photo in my back yard May 26, 2012. I’ve never seen one of these before.
Signature: Bill J.

Cecropia Moth

Hi Bill,
This Cecropia Moth is in fact a member of the Giant Silkmoth family Saturniidae.  It is one of the largest North American moths.

Letter 2 – Cecropia Moth and resulting Caterpillar Hatchlings

 

Cecropia Moth Hatchlings
Hi Bugman…I photographed this cecropia moth on June 8/07 after it laid eggs and the eggs hatched on June 19/07. I really enjoy your site and appreciate how much work goes into keeping it going. I noticed you don’t have these eggs on your site so thought they might be a good addition.
Tom Rook
Brantford, Ont. Canada
www.stockfullofnature.com

Hi Tom,
Thanks for sending us your Cecropia Hatchling image. We linked back to your excellent stock photography site and we hope that doesn’t crash your server.

Letter 3 – Cecropia Moth

 

Moth? Butterfly? I think a moth.
Dear Lisa & Daniel,
I have sent these pix to several on-line sources, trying to find out if they’re fakes or not, but no one has bothered to reply to me. I have scoured every bug site I can find, to no avail. My sister & I both received them in e-mails; they are allegedly some sort of moth that hatched from a cocoon at Canadian Forces Base, Shilo, Manitoba, Canada. I was wondering if it would be possible to ascertain what sort of moth or butterfly it is? Has it, indeed, been photo shopped? I think it’s beautiful & would love them in our garden. We have no idea what fate befell it. My sister sent me your site, & I have spent days searching through it! What a wonderful, informative site! I’m just astonished with all the different bugs on here. I was warned in advance, (thank goodness!!!) about all the spiders! Ugh! I am the biggest arachniphobe I know!
Pam

Hi Pam,
This is a photo of a Cecropia Moth, one of the Saturnid or Giant Silkmoths. They do not feed as adults. The only way to attract the adults is with lights or to have one of the many deciduous trees whose leaves provide food for the caterpillars: ash, birch, alder, elm, maple, chery, willow, apple and lilac.

Letter 4 – Cecropia Moth

 

What’s a Cecropia moth doing in Nova Scotia Canada
Hi, I was recently visited by this beautiful moth thanks to your website I’ve discovered it is a Cecropia silk moth but its says its from California, I live in Nova Scotia Canada do you know if they are known to this area or just California. It was on our front porch all day and then it flew away during the evening. Sorry for the not so great picture but I’m petrified of bugs especially flying ones but this one really caught my eye it’s the prettiest bug I’ve ever seen. I’d appreciate any information you could give me. Sincerely,
Crystal Gurney

Hi Crystal,
Cecropia Moths are native to your area as well as the rest of Eastern North America. They are not found in California. Let us know where you found this misinformation on our site.

Letter 5 – Cecropia Moth

 

Is this a Sphinx Moth? Hi Bugman
We found this moth sitting in the sun in the center of our drive. (June 2 2006) It remained there for about 6-8 hours. We had to leave and when we returned it was gone. Could you tell me about it? We live in southwestern Ontario Canada. To be specific 30 minutes north of London Ont.Thanks
Deb McGrath

Hi Deb,
This is not a Sphinx Moth, but a Giant Silk Moth. More specifically, it is a Cecropia Moth and we got many photos in the month of June.

Letter 6 – Cecropia Moth

 

Moth/Butterfly
We found this "thing" on the window of our office this morning and there is some discussion as to whether it is a moth or butterfly. Its body is approximately 2 inches long and its wing span is approximately 4-5 inches wide. The picture makes it look darker then it is. It actually is a medium shade of gray with orange and white accents.
Melissa Victor
Seaman, Ohio

Hi Melissa,
What a wonderful image of a Cecropia Moth, one of the Giant Silk Moths or Saturnid Moths.

Letter 7 – Cecropia Moth

 

Summer Solstice (06/21/2006) Moth
We recently had this moth show up on the front of our office building in Medicine Hat, AB. I was wondering if you could confirm what type of moth it is? Thank you.
Sandra Cole

Hi Sandra,
This is a Cecropia Moth, one of the Giant Silk Moths or Saturnid Moths.

Letter 8 – Cecropia Moth

 

What kind of moth is this?
Hi there,
Your site has been helpful in indentifying lots of bugs I’ve found around my home! I was wondering if you could tell me what kind of moth this is that my daughter found on the sidewalk after a rainstorm? It was about 6 inches from wing tip to wing tip.
Thanks,
Carrie (Massachusetts)

Hi Carrie,
This is a Cecropia Moth, one of the Giant Silk Moths.

Letter 9 – Cecropia Moth

 

Identification of Huge Butterfly/Moth
Location: Moosic, PA 18507
May 28, 2011 9:07 am
Found this on a concrete wall outside work…The wingspan was about 6 inches across when opened…Never saw anything like it…Was just wondering what it was…Thanks
Signature: Pat Corbett

Cecropia Moth

Hi Pat,
The Cecropia Moth is frequently confused for a butterfly because of its large size and beautiful coloration.  The average person erroneously believes all moths are small and drably colored.

Letter 10 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: Huge butterfly
Location: Ruston, LA
May 20, 2013 7:35 am
What kind of butterfly is this? It was photographed in Ruston, LA (near Monroe), on 5/20/2013, around 9 a.m.
Signature: John

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

Hi John,
This is a Cecropia Moth, not a butterfly.

Letter 11 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: Large Moth
Location: Wnnipeg Manitoba Canada
July 13, 2013 7:55 pm
I had a visit from ’Mothra’ at work the other day in Winnipeg. It was a very large and beautiful moth. That’s my hand in the shot but it looked bigger in real life.
Please identify (Cecropia perhaps?) Love your sight and thanks!
Signature: Doug Waite

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

Hi Doug,
You are absolutely correct.  This is a Cecropia Moth.

Letter 12 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: Fuzzy/furry moth seen in Austin, Texas
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
March 27, 2014 6:59 pm
Hi there –
A friend saw this moth today in Austin, Texas outside a coffee shop, and I was hoping you could help me identify what sort of moth it was.
Thank you!
Signature: Mark Miller

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

Hi Mark,
This impressive Cecropia Moth is a male as evidenced by his very feathery antennae.  We thought a Texas sighting was a bit unusual as we think of the Cecropia as being an eastern species, but BugGuide indicates that Texas is the western end of the range.

Awesome!!  Thank you for the feedback Daniel  🙂

Letter 13 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: Luna moth???
Location: Exeter,RI
August 3, 2014 2:19 pm
Can you identify this moth. It was approx 6″ across. I took this pic at approx 5:45am in July in Exeter RI. On the sidewalk at a Starbucks
Signature: Dorne

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

Dear Dorne,
This gorgeous moth is a Cecropia Moth, and even though it is in the same Giant Silkmoth family Saturniidae as a Luna Moth, once a person can compare the two, it is highly unlikely to confuse them.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much for your prompt response. This is a beautiful moth!  I am going to do some reading up on it.
Dorne Jacavone

Letter 14 – 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.

Letter 15 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: Found in Altoona, PA
Location: Altoona, PA
June 1, 2015 8:16 am
Dear bugman,
This bug was found in a parking lot near a curb in Altoona, PA on June 1, 2015. It appears to have wings, short stubby legs, and antennae. We have no idea what it could be.
Thanks!
Signature: Ashaly

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

Dear Ashaly,
This impressive creature is a Cecropia Moth.  We will be gone from the office for a spell in June and we are postdating your posting to go live in our absence.

Letter 16 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: What kind of moth is this?
Location: State College, PA
June 2, 2015 5:15 am
Hi, I took this picture of a moth in State College, PA. Wondering what kind it is. Thanks!
Signature: Don

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

Dear Don,
We started getting images of Cecropia Moths,
Hyalophora cecropia, from various locations in the past month, beginning with southern sightings.  According to BugGuide:  “Populations of this species can be found across most of continental North America east of the Rocky Mountains.  Cecropia moths are recorded from the Maritime Prov. of Canada (Nova Scotia & PEI) south to central Florida and west across the Eastern Plains & e. Rockies.”

Letter 17 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: Large moth
Location: Northern Ohio – Seneca County
May 23, 2016 9:14 pm
My son came across this moth on our evening walk/run tonight (5/23/16). We live in Northern Ohio about 35 miles South of the lake in Seneca County.
Very pretty and large. It was neat to see. Just wondering what type of moth it might be.
Signature: Michelle Hoepf

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

Dear Michelle,
This is a female Cecropia Moth, and she is laden with eggs.  Like other members in her family Saturniidae, the Cecropia Moth only lives long enough to mate and lay eggs.  Adults do not feed.

Thank you for the information.  I appreciate it. I am glad I came across your website.  We learned about other moths from other posts and questions posted.   Thanks again for you help!

Letter 18 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: moth id please
Location: Baltimore, MD
June 9, 2016 4:47 am
I saw this on my way into the building this morning. Wondering if you can help me ID it.
Signature: Scott Powell

Cecropia Moth
Cecropia Moth

Dear Scott,
This beautiful creature is a Cecropia Moth.

Letter 19 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject: What in the world?
Location: Williamsport, PA
May 31, 2017 7:49 am
Good morning from Williamsport, Pennsylvania! I was put planting the other day and found a red cocoon with what looked to be a stinger on the bottom of it, buried in the soil. I put it back and now this morning, this
appeared. I am not sure if it is related, however; what is this beautiful creature, bc I have NEVER seen one around this area!! Thanks for any insight
Signature: Angela

Female Cecropia Moth

Dear Angela,
This is a female Cecropia Moth.  Like other members of the Giant Silkmoth family Saturniidae, they do not feed as adults.  They only live long enough to mate and lay eggs, generally a week at most.

Letter 20 – Cecropia Moth

 

Subject:  Interesting Moth Find
Geographic location of the bug:  Suburban town in Connecticut, USA
Date: 06/16/2018
Time: 09:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This moth (?) was found in early June on a warm, sunny day on the playground of a elementary school in Connecticut. I could not capture a better photo before it flew away, however it was VERY large. Out of curiosity, I did some research to identify the moth but had no luck. The only related species that I found were Atlas moths, but none were inhabitants of the area or displayed such interesting markings. Any ideas what this bug could be?
How you want your letter signed:  Moth Mystified

Cecropia Moth

Dear Moth Mystified,
This magnificent moth is a male Cecropia Moth.

Authors

  • Daniel Marlos

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

15 thoughts on “Where are Cecropia Moths Found? Discover Their Unique Habitats”

  1. I justy found on of these magnificent moths sitting on my front porch…in Malibu, CA. So you, they are in Californa!!

    Reply
  2. I have been housing 3 cecropia moth cocoons in my refrigerator over the winter. When should they come out of the fridge so that they emerge in time to be released during their mating season?

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Where are you located? That would make a difference. We don’t know the ideal temperature and conditions for Cecropia eclosion. At this point, we would say when the outdoor air temperature reaches the inside refrigerator temperature. That would be the least shocking to the pupae inside the cocoons.

      Reply
  3. 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.

    Reply
  4. I live in the lower peninsula of Michigan near Au Gres and I found one today on my garage door this is the second one that I have seen on my garage.

    Reply

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