Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Hera buckmoth
Hemileuca hera (Harris, 1841)


Family: Saturniidae
Subfamily: Hemileucinae
Identification: Wings are white with black markings including a black crescent-shaped cell spot on each wing. Subspecies marcata (southern Oregon and northern California) has the black markings much reduced. Subspecies magnifica (northeastern Arizona, northern New Mexico, southern Colorado) is larger than the others and has darker, heavier markings.
Wing Span: 2 3/4 - 3 5/8 inches (7.1 - 9.3 cm).
Life History: Adults emerge in early morning and are day fliers, mating in late morning. Females lay eggs in rings around twigs of host plants. Eggs overwinter and hatch from April-June. Young caterpillars feed together while older ones feed alone. Fully-grown caterpillars overwinter in loose cocoons in the leaf litter or in burrows in soft soil. Adults emerge from July-September, but at high elevations and northern latitudes, the cocoons overwinter and adults emerge in the spring.
Flight:
Caterpillar Hosts: Basin big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and sand sagebrush (A. filifolia).
Adult Food: Adults do not feed.
Habitat: Great Basin sagebrush communities, pinyon-juniper woodland, and subalpine sagebrush meadows.
Range: Great Basin area from southwestern Saskatchewan west to southeastern British Columbia; south to western Colorado, central Utah, and central Nevada. Subspecies marcata is in southern Oregon and northern California, while subspecies magnifica occurs in northeastern Arizona, northern New Mexico, and southern Colorado.
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