Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Imperial moth
Eacles imperialis (Drury, 1773)


Family: Saturniidae
Subfamily: Ceratocampinae
Identification: Females are larger than males. Upperside is yellow with pinkish brown to purple-brown patches, bands, and cell spots, and tiny brown spots scattered overall. Males have larger patches on the forewings than females, except for some subspecies pini males which have reduced purple and are mostly yellow.
Wing Span: 3 1/8 - 6 7/8 inches (8 - 17.4 cm).
Life History: Adults emerge before sunrise and mate after midnight the next day. Females lay eggs at dusk singly or in groups of 2-5 on both surfaces of host plant leaves. The eggs hatch in about 2 weeks, and the caterpillars are solitary feeders. Pupation takes place in underground burrows.
Flight: One brood; in the north from June-August, in the south from April-October.
Caterpillar Hosts: Conifers and deciduous trees and shrubs including pine (Pinus), oak (Quercus), box elder (Acer negundo), maples (Acer), sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), and sassafras (Sassafras albidum). Confirmed feeding on Norway spruce (see record 738773). Subspecies pini feeds only on conifers.
Adult Food: Adults do not feed.
Habitat: Deciduous and evergreen forests.
Range: Maine west to eastern Nebraska, south to the Florida Keys and central Texas. Subspecies pini occurs across the northern Great Lakes basin and the northern third of Michigan's Lower Peninsula.
Conservation: Not usually required.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
Comments: NULL