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Species Callosamia promethea - Promethea Moth - Hodges#7764

unknown cocoon - Callosamia promethea Callosamia promethea Giant silkworm caterpillar -Callosamia promethia - Callosamia promethea Promethea caterpillars - Callosamia promethea Promethea Moth - Callosamia promethea Cacoon on buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) - Callosamia promethea Callosamia promethea Callosamia promethea, Promethea Moth - Callosamia promethea - female
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)
Subfamily Saturniinae (Silkmoths)
Tribe Attacini
Genus Callosamia
Species promethea (Promethea Moth - Hodges#7764)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
Spicebush Silkmoth (1)
Common (1)
Wingspan 75-95 mm (1)
Adult: male wings blackish except for faint whitish PM line, pale tan terminal border, and pink shading around apical spot; female wings bright reddish to dark brown, usually with well-developed reniform spots
[description by Charles Covell]
thin meandering line near outer margin of forewing resembles side view of a set of molars in a jaw bone

Male (below left) Female (below right)

Larva: body of mature (fifth) instar whitish-green without hair; dorsum of second and third thoracic segments with paired red knobs, black at base; eighth abdominal segment with unpaired dorsal yellow knob; sides of body with black spots rimmed with blue; anal prolegs with black C-shaped marking; anal plate yellowish-green
[adapted from description by David Wagner and Valerie Giles]
each of the earlier instars are differently colored and patterned: third instar white with black transverse bands; fourth instar white with black spots and yellow thoracic knobs
New Brunswick to Forida, west to Texas, north to Manitoba
deciduous forests
Females come to lights but males do not. (1)
One brood flies June to July northward. Two broods southward, flying March to May and July to August. (1)
larvae present from May to September
larvae feed on leaves of apple, ash, basswood, birch, cherry, lilac, maple, sassafras, sipcebush, sweetgum, tulip-tree (1); also recorded on buttonbush, magnolia, and other trees
adults do not feed
Life Cycle
Cocoon attached by silk to a twig, becoming easily visible after the leaves fall. Mating happens late in the day and eggs are laid at night. (1) Females call (release pheromone) from about 4 pm to 6 pm; the restricted hours aid reproductive isolation from other silkmoth species.(2)
See Also
Tulip-tree Silkmoth (Callosamia angulifera) is larger [wingspan 80-110 mm], male has dark brown wings [not blackish] and more distinct whitish PM line and reniform spots; female wings yellowish to orangish-brown with no reddish tint, and large white chevron-shaped spot on each forewing (compare images of males and females at CBIF)
Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia) has red body with white collar and abdominal bands; hindwing has large white arc-shaped spot and smooth-edged white PM line (compare images of both species at CBIF)

Print References
Charles Covell. Moths of Eastern North America. Notes on p. 51, Plates: larva 1 [#7]; cocoon 2 [#2]; adults 10 [male #9, female #12] (1)
Internet References
live images of all life stages plus interesting narrative (John Himmelman, Connecticut)
pinned adult images of male [top] and female (CBIF)
pinned adult images of male and female by Paul Opler, and live larva image by Leroy Simon, plus US distribution map (Butterflies and Moths of North America)
live adult image of male (Jean-Yves Malmasson, France)
live larva image plus description, foodplants, seasonality, life cycle (David Wagner and Valerie Giles, Caterpillars of Eastern Forests, USGS)
distribution in Canada listing provinces NB, QC, ON, MB (CBIF)
Works Cited
1.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.
2.The Diversity of Life
Edward O. Wilson. 1992. Belknap.