Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
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Family Saturniidae - Giant Silkworm and Royal Moths

what is this??? - Hyalophora cecropia Arizona caterpillar - Hemileuca tricolor Caterpillar Found in woods - Eacles imperialis caterpillar Imperial moth caterpiller (Eacles imperialis) - Eacles imperialis - Eacles imperialis Silvery Checkerspot Caterpillar Procession? - Hemileuca maia Hickory Horned Devils - Citheronia regalis Caterpillar - Hemileuca maia
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Bombycoidea (Silkworm, Sphinx, and Royal Moths)
Family Saturniidae (Giant Silkworm and Royal Moths)
Explanation of Names
Named after the type genus, Saturnia, which was itself named after Juno, the queen of the gods in Roman mythology. One of her other names was Saturnia, because she was daughter of the god Saturn.
Approximately 75 species in our area.
Largest moths in our area, some have a 150 mm wingspan. The smallest ones have a wingspan of a little over 25 mm.
Check out this article to see thumbnails of all the giant silkworm and royal moths together on one page.
The greatest variety occurs in the Neotropics, with some in other world regions.
Mostly tropical and subtropical.
Larvae feed on a wide range of plants. Adults do not feed.
Life Cycle
Most overwinter as pupae and have only one generation a year.
Adults live a very short period as they do not feed and only reproduce.
Some are serious defoliators.
A few Asiatic species have been used for commercial silk production. The North American ones haven't proved useful.
Internet References
Moths of Southeastern Arizona live and pinned images of various life stages of 26 species, plus common names for each, but classification follows Hodges checklist of 1983, now outdated (Bruce Walsh, U. of Arizona)
pinned adult image thumbnails of 21 species occurring in Canada (CBIF)