Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Electra buckmoth
Hemileuca electra W.G. Wright, 1884

Family: Saturniidae
Subfamily: Hemileucinae
Identification: Upperside of forewing is white with black margins, black at the base, and black-outlined cell spots. Upperside of hindwing is orange with black margins and a black cell spot. Moths from southern California have more black markings on the forewing, while those from central Arizona have redder hindwings and heavier black markings; some forewings are almost solid black.
Wing Span: 2 3/16 - 3 1/16 inches (5.6 - 7.8 cm).
Life History: Adults emerge in early morning and mating takes place in mid-morning. In the afternoon, females lay eggs on dried flower heads or in rings around the stems of the host plants. Eggs overwinter and hatch from January-March. Young caterpillars feed together on new plant growth and when they are older they feed alone. In April or May fully-grown caterpillars spin loose cocoons in plant debris or in loose soil.
Flight: One brood from September-November.
Caterpillar Hosts: Flat top buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) and Eastern Mojave buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum polifolium).
Adult Food: Adults do not feed.
Habitat: California coastal scrub, deserts, and desert upland.
Range: Southwestern Utah, southeastern Nevada, and northwestern Arizona south to central Arizona, southern California, and Baja California Sur.
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
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