Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Eastern buckmoth
Hemileuca maia (Drury, 1773)

Family: Saturniidae
Subfamily: Hemileucinae
Identification: Females are larger than males. Male abdomen is black with a red tip, female abdomen is black. Upperside is black with an off-white median band and a small eyespot on each wing.
Wing Span: 2 - 3 inches (5 - 7.5 cm).
Life History: Adults emerge in the morning and mating takes place in early afternoon. In the late afternoon, females lay groups of eggs in rings around twigs of the host. The eggs overwinter, and when they hatch the next spring the young caterpillars feed in groups. Caterpillars wander about and make their cocoons in leaf litter on the ground or a few inches underground in soft soil.
Flight: One brood from September-December.
Caterpillar Hosts: Various oaks including scrub oak (Quercus ilicifolia), live oak (Q. virginiana), blackjack oak (Q. marilandica), and dwarf chestnut oak (Q. prinoides).
Adult Food: Adults do not feed.
Habitat: Scrub oak-pine sand barrens, oak woods, and oak trees in cities.
Range: Maine west to eastern Kansas; south to northern Florida, the Gulf states, and eastern Texas.
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