Moths of the Adirondack Mountains: Cecropia Silkmoth (Hyalophora cecropia) in the Paul Smiths VIC Native Species Butterfly House (16 June 2012)

Moths of the Adirondack Mountains:
Cecropia Silkmoth (Hyalophora cecropia)

Moths of the Adirondack Mountains: Cecropia Silkmoth (Hyalophora cecropia) in the Paul Smiths VIC Native Species Butterfly House (16 June 2012) Moths of the Adirondack Mountains: Cecropia Silkmoth in the Paul Smiths VIC Butterfly House (16 June 2012)

The Cecropia Silkmoth (Hyalophora cecropia) is a large moth which may be seen in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York from late May through July. [1] It is also called the Robin Moth. [2] With a wing span of 11-15 centimeters (4 5/16 - 5 7/8 inches), this is the second largest moth in North America. [3] The body of the Cecropia Silkmoth is red with a white collar and a series of white bands on the abdomen. [4] The wings are dark brown with crescent spots. [5] The Cecropia has rounded wing tips and feathery antennae. There is a vertical stripe on the wing with three color layers: black, white and reddish orange. This distinguishes the Cecropia from the similar Columbia Silkmoth, which lacks the reddish-orange layer on the vertical line. [6]

The female Cecropia lays rows of two to six eggs on the leaves of small host trees or shrubs. Young caterpillars emerge from the eggs in 10-14 days, to feed in groups on leaves. Older caterpillars are solitary. [7] The greenish-blue caterpillar is about four inches long with two rows of red, yellow, and blue spiny tubercles on its body. [8] Caterpillar hosts include maples, cherries, plum, birch, alder, dogwood and willow. [9] The adult Cecropia SIlkmoth does not feed.[10] It lives only for a few weeks; its only purpose is to mate. [11]

The Cecropia Silkmoth's habitats include urban and suburban environments, as well as meadows and fields, scrub, shrub, and brushlands. [12 [13] This insect ranges from Nova Scotia and Maine south to Florida, west across southern Canada and the eastern United States to the Rocky Mountains. [14] The Cecropia Silkmoth has become less common than previously, apparently because of habitat loss, pollution, herbicides and pesticides, and disease. [15] The Cecropia is one of several silkmoth species that are thought to be declining in the northeastern United States. [16]

In 2012, Cecropia SIlkmoths were seen in the northern Adirondacks in late May and early June. [17] In 2012, this insect was present in the Paul Smiths VIC Native Species Butterfly House from the opening on 9 June through 8 July. In previous years, Cecropias were present in the Butterfly House and in the surrounding area until well into July. [18]

References

Explore the VIC

The Paul Smiths VIC offers a wide variety of programs throughout the year to educate and inform Adirondack Park residents and visitors about the natural wonders of the Adirondack Mountains. You can help support these programs by joining the Friends of the VIC. More information on Friends of the VIC memberships

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The VIC trails are free and open to the public, from dawn to dusk, spring through fall. In winter, the trails are open to cross-country skiers and snowshoers for a fee. Day or season passes may be purchased.