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

Upcoming Events

BugGuide is a National Moth Week Partner. How to add your National Moth Week 2021 photos. July 17-25.

Photos of insects and people from the Spring 2021 gathering in Louisiana, April 28-May 2

National Moth Week 2020 photos of insects and people.

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Previous events


Genus Samia

First instar - Samia cynthia - Samia cynthia first, second n third instars - Samia cynthia - Samia cynthia Samia cynthia  - Samia cynthia
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 Samia
There is but one species in this Genus to become naturalized, Samia cynthia (aka walkeri), but a few other related taxa, often considered to be ssp. of the cynthia, have been popularized and traded among hobbyists (for details refer to the list below).
Samia cynthia (narturalized populations)
Samia cynthia ricini (syn. Samia ricini, Eri Silkmoth)
Samia cynthia walkeri (syn. Samia walkeri)

Species (28)
1.Samia abrerai
2.Samia beekei
3.Samia borneensis
4.Samia canningi
5.Samia cynthia
6.Samia cynthia ricini (syn. Samia ricini, Eri Silkmoth)
7.Samia cynthia walkeri (syn. Samia walkeri)
8.Samia insularis
9.Samia kalimantanensis
10.Samia kikibudiamini
11.Samia kohlii
12.Samia kohlli
13.Samia luzonica
14.Samia naessigi
15.Samia naumanni
16.Samia peigleri
17.Samia pryeri
18.Samia ricini
19.Samia sp.
20.Samia tetria
21.Samia tetrica
22.Samia treadawayi
23.Samia vandenberghi
24.Samia vulva
25.Samia walkeri
26.Samia wangi
27.Samia watsoni
28.Samia yayukae
Regarding North American records - This taxon has been introduced into the eastern US and Canada from Asia.
There are several taxa frequently reared and traded among hobbyists; however, the cynthia is the only confirmed taxon to become established outside the hobby trade.

Recent records along the Atlantic suggest populations still occur from Virginia to New England.
NOTE - Many of the established populations seem to have disappeared in recent years.

There may be some populations east of Rocky Mountains in eastern United States and southern Canada.(1)
"spotty distribution along the Atlantic coast from Connecticut to Georgia and west to northern Kentucky." BAMONA

There are numerous subspecies and related/similar taxa distributed across Southeast Asia, China, the Indian Subcontinent and the Islands of the Indo-Pacific.
Generally associated with disturbed areas (i.e. urban & suburban environments) of the mid-Atlantic.
The cocoons of the cynthia moth are reported to be commonly seen and collected near bridges and railroads where Ailanthus trees flourish.
Ailanthus, Privet + a few native shrubs and trees
Life Cycle
1 to 2 generations per year in the US
The cynthia moth was introduced into the US during the late 1800's in an attempt to generate a silk industry. Both the moth and the host, ailanthus, have become established along the east coast of the US.

Although established, the cynthia moth is not regarded as a significant pest species.
Internet References
Works Cited
1.National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
Lorus and Margery Milne. 1980. Knopf.