Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Nuttall's sheepmoth
Hemileuca nuttalli (Strecker, 1875)

Family: Saturniidae
Subfamily: Hemileucinae
Identification: Upperside of hindwing is yellow, forewing is usually a lighter yellow to cream. Both wings have black markings which in some individuals are very wide.
Wing Span: 2 11/16 - 3 1/4 inches (6.9 - 8.3 cm).
Life History: Adults emerge in the morning and mate in the early afternoon. Females lay eggs in rings around host plant stems. Eggs overwinter and hatch in May and June. Young caterpillars feed together in groups and when older they feed alone. Fully-grown caterpillars pupate in loose cocoons in the leaf litter or in burrows in soft soil, and adults emerge from July-September. At high elevations and northern latitudes, 2 years are needed to complete development. Cocoons overwinter and in the spring the adults emerge.
Flight: One brood from July-September.
Caterpillar Hosts: Bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), snowberry (Symphoricarpos), currant (Ribes), and desert sweet (Chamaebatiaria millefolium).
Adult Food: Adults do not feed.
Habitat: Sagebrush scrub, pinyon-juniper woodland, and sagebrush meadows.
Range: Southern British Columbia south down the east side of the Sierra Nevada, east to western Montana, western Wyoming, and western 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
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