Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Samia cynthia - Ailanthus Silkmoth - Hodges#7759

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
Species cynthia (Ailanthus Silkmoth - Hodges#7759)
Hodges Number
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
Found in open areas, near and in cities.(1)
Many trees and shrubs, including ailanthus (tree of heaven, paradise tree), birch, ash, elm, alder, wild cherry, maple, lilac, willow, and apple.(1)
It is a silk producing moth. It was introduced from China in the late 1800s.
There is legitimate debate as to whether there are still wild populations of this species in our area. The images here so far are from captive, hand-raised populations.
Internet References
Photos of live adult and larva at North American Moth Photographers Group.
Works Cited
1.National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
Lorus and Margery Milne. 1980. Knopf.