Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Columbia silkmoth
Hyalophora columbia (S.I. Smith, 1865)

Family: Saturniidae
Subfamily: Saturniinae
Identification: Wings are dark brown to red-brown. The gray area outside the white postmedian band does not contain any red. Crescent spots on the forewings and hindwings are white, although occasionally the spots on the forewing may be reduced or absent.
Wing Span: 3 1/8 - 3 15/16 inches (8 - 10 cm).
Life History: Females lay one or two eggs at the base of larch needles, or on leaves and twigs of other host plants. Caterpillars hatch in less than two weeks and are solitary feeders. The cocoon is compact and spun close to the ground on the trunk or stem of the host plant or on nearby thick undergrowth.
Flight: One brood from May-July.
Caterpillar Hosts: In the east laricina); in addition, caterpillars in western Ontario eat pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica), speckled alder (Alnus rugosa), and white birch (Betula papyrifera). In the west: western choke cherry (Prunus demissa), bitter cherry (P. emarginata), bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), wild roses (Rosa), willows (Salix), buffalo berry (Shepherdia argentea), Russian olive (Eleagnus angustifolius), and buckbrush (Ceanothus).
Adult Food: Adults do not feed.
Habitat: Woodland with poorly drained, boggy, acid soil; suburban gardens; and a wide variety of wooded habitats.
Range: In the east Quebec and Ontario to Michigan, northern Wisconsin, and southeastern Manitoba. In the west: Alberta and Montana south through the Rocky Mountain region to southwest Texas and into central Mexico. Comments: Glover's silkmoth, H. c. gloveri, once considered a separate species, is now treated as a subspecies of the Columbia silkmoth.
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.
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