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Species Hemileuca griffini - Griffin's Sheepmoth - Hodges#7740

Mystery caterpillar on Wilson Mesa, Utah - Hemileuca griffini Hemileuca magnifica? - Hemileuca griffini Unknown Moth_01 - Hemileuca griffini Hemileuca griffini ♀ - Hemileuca griffini - female Hemileuca griffini ♂ - Hemileuca griffini - male
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 Hemileucinae (Buck and Io Moths)
Tribe Hemileucini
Genus Hemileuca
Species griffini (Griffin's Sheepmoth - Hodges#7740)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Described as Hemileuca griffini in 1978, by P.M.Tuskes.(1)
Explanation of Names
Named for Bruce Griffin, who collected the first individuals of this species in 1974.(1)
Adult wingspan 1.75" to 3" (2)
Caterpillar to about 2"
Male abdomen red tipped, otherwise black. Female abdomen red/black banded. Upperside of wings is white with narrow black markings.(2)

Host-plant and locality may also be helpful for ID, since this species has such narrow feeding habits and restricted distribution.
Southern Utah, south to central Arizona, west to southern Nevada.(2)
High desert scrub.
Caterpillars active April-May, adults active August-October.(2)
Blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima).(1,2,3)
Also reported on other genera of Rosaceae: Amelanchier, Cercocarpus, Prunus. One report, possibly erroneous, of feeding on Ephedra.(3)
Life Cycle
Eggs are laid on hostplant in autumn, and hatch in April. Pupae spend the summer just below litter or soil surface, and there is one flight of adults in August-October.(1),2)
This species is considered to be threatened, due to its restricted range, and possible threats to its habitat from grazing of livestock. (4)

Like other species in this genus, H. griffini caterpillars have venomous spines that cause a painful sting.