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Species Hemileuca maia - Buck Moth - Hodges#7730

Lepidopteran in Florida Scrub - Hemileuca maia moth - Hemileuca maia Freshly emerged buckmoths - Hemileuca maia - male Still more buckmoths - Hemileuca maia - male Unknown Moth see in New Orleans - Hemileuca maia Moth with Black wing with White Bar - Hemileuca maia Buck Moth - Hemileuca maia - male Buck Moth B - 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)
No Taxon (Moths)
Superfamily Bombycoidea
Family Saturniidae (Giant Silkworm and Royal Moths)
Subfamily Hemileucinae (Buck and Io Moths)
Tribe Hemileucini
Genus Hemileuca
Species maia (Buck Moth - Hodges#7730)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Hemileuca maia (Drury, 1773)
Phalaena maia Drury, 1773
Hemileuca maia ab. lintneri Cockerel, 1914
* phyogenetic sequence #224925
Explanation of Names
Author of species is Drury. Species name maia likely comes from Greek mythology, quoting this site: "The Pleiades" was the name given to the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione. Maia was the eldest of the daughters, and said to be the most beautiful. Being shy, she lived quietly and alone in a cave on Mount Cyllene, in Arcadia.
Wingspan 50-75 mm
Forewing and hindwing black with narrow white bands. Tip of abdomen red in males, black in females.

Said to fly rapidly at mid-day through oak forests. (1)

Caterpillar is variable, with base color ranging from black to almost white. Thorax and abdomen densely flecked with white dots. Many-branched spines can deliver a painful sting.
Eastern North America: Maine to Florida, west to Wisconsin, Kansas, Texas. Rare in parts of range (northeast?), though alleged to approach pest status in the South at times.
Dry woodlands with hostplant, presumably.
October-November, only to September in north, to December in Florida.
Larvae feed on Oaks, Quercus, especially Scrub Oak, Quercus ilicifolia. Wanders in later instars.
Caution, caterpillars can inflict painful sting.
See Also
Caterpillars of Hemileuca lucina and Hemileuca nevadensis are similar. Host plant may help diferentiate them.
Print References
Brimley, p. 266, lists for mountains and coastal plain of North Carolina, giving only a date of November. (2)
Covell, p. 48, plate 9 (1)
Ferguson, D. C., 1971. Moths of America North of Mexico, Fascicle 20.2a: p. 115; pl. 8.6-8.(3)
Himmelman, p. 196, mentions rarity in Connecticut. (4)
Selfridge, J. A., D. Parry, G. H. Boettner 2007. Parasitism of barrens buck moth Hemileuca maia Drury in early and late successional pine barrens habitats. Jl. Lep. Soc. 61(4): 213-221
Wagner, p. 21 - caterpillar (5)
Wagner, p. 239 - caterpillar (6)
Works Cited
1.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.
2.Insects of North Carolina
C.S. Brimley. 1938. North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
3.MONA - Saturniidae
D.C. Ferguson. 1971. E.W. Classey & R.D.B. Publications Inc.
4.Discovering Moths: Nighttime Jewels in Your Own Backyard
John Himmelman. 2002. Down East Books.
5.Caterpillars of Eastern Forests
David L. Wagner, Valerie Giles, Richard C. Reardon, Michael L. McManus. 1998. U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team.
6.Caterpillars of Eastern North America
David L. Wagner. 2005. Princeton University Press.