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Hyalophora "cecropia" (+ gloveri blend) - Hyalophora - Female
Denver (residential area above the city proper), Denver/Boulder? County, Colorado, USA
June 11, 2003
Collected at lights nr. gas station
11 June 2003
Coll. S.A.M. Bailey

This specimen of Colorado "cecropia moth" exhibits traits seen in both H. cecropia & gloveri and is very likely a HYBRID or backcross between the two. The distinctive red postmedial scaling is a trait typical and diagnostic of cecropia (not so for gloveri). Given locality, it would not be unlikely to encounter Hyalophora specimens with "cecropia X gloveri" influence - esp. since both taxa are known to occur in this area.

Hyalophora cecropia populations occupy suitable habitats across parts of eastern Colorado and extend to the Rockies where they are typically replaced by H. gloveri at higher elevations.

In the Denver area, H. cecropia has been collected on a number of occasions, however, whether cecropia moths are native locally or have been introduced into the Denver metro area is still in question.


The wild collected moth (below left) is very similar in appearance to a lab produced cross of cecropia x gloveri (below right)!

Compare the moth above to a North Carolina H. cecropia (L) & a Colorado H. gloveri (R)


There are a number of places along the western Plains and eastern Rockies where cecropia and gloveri pop's meet/over lap...undoubtedly gene exchange occurs, but the frequency and success of hybrids doesn't appear to be well known. Interesting "cecropia" phenotypes of possible hybrid origin have been collected from the following states: CO, WY, NE, SD, ND, & MT

Below is another example of a "western cecropia moth" exhibiting skewed phenotypic characteristics as compared to the "norm"!


*It's important to mention these moths may not be "hybrids" at all, but rather represent the phenotypic extremes within the cecropia taxon proper. Nonetheless, some of these localized populations seem to be self sustaining and remain quite unique in appearance.


Final Note - The overall density and distribution of the cecropia (Hyalophora species in general) seems to be on the DECLINE. Habitat loss is thought to be the major factor, however, "climate change", pollution, pesticides and the deliberate introduction of parasites, parasitoids, and pathogens are all thought to have played a role in the decimation of many populations.

In contrast, the range and density of H. cecropia may be "increasing" in a few places as more deciduous trees are planted in urban & suburban areas along the "fringe" habitats (lit. & per. comm.). Many of the preferred "host trees & shrubs" are more eastern in their natural distributions but can and do thrive in human maintained landscapes of the more arid west. Given the potential for range expansion, it is not unlikely more and more "crosses" will be observed along zones of "expansion" & subsequent "overlap".

Images of this individual: tag all
Hyalophora Hyalophora cecropia (x gloveri ?) LEFT - Hyalophora - female

Moved from Cecropia Moth.

Moved from Hyalophora.

Moved from Cecropia Moth.

Naturally occurring western "H. cecropia" (x gloveri?)
The moth above is not typical of Colorado gloveri nor of cecropia, however, several traits are distincltly cecropia-like incl. size & the presence of postmedial red scaling.

Given intermediate traits, this moth is likely a HYBRID or backcross between H. cecropia and H. gloveri. Interestingly, the coloration & red postmedial/sub-marginal scaling,...a trait typical of cecropia also seen in se. Arizona's "Glover's Silk Moths".