Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

  Sighting 1120079

Ceanothus silkmoth
Hyalophora euryalus

Observation date: June 09, 2017
Submitted by: ksharkey
Specimen type: Photograph
Observation notes: UPDATE: Hyalophora cecropia - After a long search online, I found out the name of this moth. But according to everything I've read, it lives EAST of the Rocky Mountains. So I wonder how this beauty found it's way to South Lake Tahoe??? Sad to read that it's adult lifespan is only 2 weeks. But that makes finding this beauty extra special. Looking at the species sightings location map, it appears that the only other sightings west of the Rocky Mountains have been a couple in the Los Angeles Area in 2011/12ish. Not sure if this is a moth or a butterfly, but it was HUGE! It was very cold and it had been raining, and this huge fella was on a covered walkway in the shade. It was obvious that s/he had gotten wet and needed to warm up in the sunshine. But unfortunately, where it had settled down there was no chance of any sun, and a huge probability of getting stepped on. I gently forced it to walk onto my hand without touching the wings. After a few photos, I left it on my sweatshirt sitting in the sun on the hood of my car. It fanned it's wings, obviously warming itself up. After perhaps 15-20 minutes, it finally took flight and I watched it flit away into the trees. I've never seen such a huge butterfly/moth before. It's wingspan was easily 5 inches across, and it's fuzzy body was nearly as thick as my finger.
Status: Resident
Verified by: Josiah Gilbert
Verified date: June 13, 2017
Coordinator notes: This is actually not a Cercropia Silkmoth (Hyalophora cercropia), but the similar Ceanothus Silkmoth (Hyalophora euryalus).
Checklist region(s): El Dorado County, United States, California