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Species Eacles imperialis - Imperial Moth - Hodges#7704

BIG green caterpillar  - Eacles imperialis Amazing Beauty - Eacles imperialis Egg Laying Moth - Eacles imperialis Moth found in NJ - Eacles imperialis Moth - Eacles imperialis imperial moth caterpillar - Eacles imperialis Yellow and pink moth - Eacles imperialis Lost Imperial Moth - Eacles imperialis
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
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)
Subfamily Ceratocampinae (Royal Moths)
Genus Eacles
Species imperialis (Imperial Moth - Hodges#7704)
Hodges Number
7704
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Eacles imperialis (Drury)
Orig. Comb: Phalaena imperialis Drury 1773
12 synonyms listed at All-Leps: Eacles anchicayensis, approximans, cacicus, decoris, didyma, imperatoria, magnifica, opaca, oslari, punctatissima, quintanensis, tucumana
Numbers
one of two species in this genus in North America listed at All-Leps
three subspecies listed at All-Leps: E. i. imperialis, nobilis, pini
Size
wingspan 80-174 mm; female larger than male
larva length to 100 mm
Identification
Adult: wings yellow, variably spotted and shaded with pinkish, orangish, or purplish-brown; male more heavily marked than female, especially in the south
[adapted from description by Charles Covell]

Pine Imperial Moth (subspecies E. i. pini) occurs from southern Quebec and northern Vermont to northern Michigan and western Ontario; the adult is smaller than nominate subspecies, with more pink spots on forewing, plus strong PM line on underside of hindwing, and the larva feeds only on pine - especially White Pine (Pinus strobus)
Texas Imperial Moth (subspecies E. i. nobilis) occurs in southeastern Texas; one-third of the adult population is completely shaded with pinkish-brown
[adapted from text by Charles Covell]

Larva: two variable color forms - green form varies from light green to dark green; brown form varies from orangish to chocolate brown to almost black; pair of spined dorsal tubercles on second and third thoracic segments, and sometimes first few abdominal segments; spiracles prominent, yellowish-white, ringed with black; many long whitish hairs dorsally, and shorter less dense ones laterally; short middorsal horn on ninth and tenth abdominal segments; prolegs larger on tenth segment than on other segments
[adapted from description by C.T. Maier et al]
Range
e NA - Map (MPG)
Habitat
deciduous, mixed, and coniferous forests; adults are nocturnal and come to light
Season
adults fly from June to August in the north; April to September/October in southern United States
larvae from July to October
Food
Larvae feed on leaves of Bald Cypress, basswood, birch, cedar, elm, hickory, Honeylocust, maple, oak, pine, Sassafras (Sassafras albidum), Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua), sycamore, walnut.
Adults do not feed.
Life Cycle
Large yellow eggs are laid singly or in groups of 2-5 on both surfaces of host leaves, and take two weeks to hatch. Larvae are solitary feeders. Pupation occurs in underground burrows. Overwinters as a pupa in the soil. Adults emerge before sunrise and mate after midnight the next day. One generation per year in the north; one or two generations in the south.
Remarks
Imperial moths used to be found throughout New England but now, their only New England home is Martha's Vineyard.
See Also
adult of Western Imperial Moth or Oslar's Eacles (Eacles oslari) can be either virtually identical or much darker (see 4 adult images by Bruce Walsh) but is found only in the extreme southwest beyond the range of E. imperialis (see distribution map)
Print References
Covell, p. 45, plate 1 #3, plate 9 #5 (1)
Tuskes (2)
Wagner (3)
Internet References
adult images plus flight season (Larry Line, Maryland)
live larva image - Jerry Payne, USDA Agricultural Research Service, forestryimages.org
live larva image - Dave Wagner, Discover Life, U. of Georgia
live larva image - C.T. Maier et al, USDA Forest Service, forestpests.org
larval foodplants - L.L. Hyche, Auburn U. Alabama
distribution in Canada Quebec and Ontario only (CBIF)
Works Cited
1.Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America
Charles V. Covell, Jr. 2005.
2.The Wild Silk Moths of North America: A Natural History of the Saturniidae of the United States and Canada
Paul M. Tuskes, James P. Tuttle, Michael M. Collins. 1996. Cornell University Press.
3.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.