Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes


TaxonomyBrowse
Info
ImagesLinksBooksData

Species Hemileuca maia - Buck Moth - Hodges#7730

Nymphalidae caterpillar - Hemileuca maia Buck Moth Caterpillar - Hemileuca maia Hemileuca (Buck Moth) Catapillar? - Hemileuca maia both a moth and a caterpillar - Hemileuca maia Spiny caterpillar - Hemileuca maia What do I have here? - Hemileuca maia Hemileuca maia Caterpillar - Hemileuca maia
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
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
7730
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.
Size
Wingspan 50-75 mm
Identification
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.
Range
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.
Habitat
Dry woodlands with hostplant, presumably.
Season
October-November, only to September in north, to December in Florida.
Food
Larvae feed on Oaks, Quercus, especially Scrub Oak, Quercus ilicifolia. Wanders in later instars.
Remarks
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.