Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Ailanthus silkmoth
Samia cynthia (Drury, 1773)

Family: Saturniidae
Subfamily: Saturniinae
Identification: Wings are olive brown to brown with wide pinkish median bands. Each wing has a large crescent-shaped transparent spot edged with gold.
Wing Span: 4 1/8 - 5 1/2 inches (10.5 - 14 cm).
Life History: Adults fly during the day. In the evening, females lay eggs on the host plant in rows of 10-20. The eggs hatch in 2-3 weeks and the young caterpillars feed in tight groups. Older caterpillars are solitary feeders. The grayish cocoons are attached to the main petiole of a leaf, and may drop to the ground if the main petiole falls off in autumn.
Flight: One brood from June-July.
Caterpillar Hosts: The introduced Chinese tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima).
Adult Food: Adults do not feed.
Habitat: Cities and suburbs where Ailanthus grows.
Range: The Ailanthus silkmoth was introduced from China in the late 1800s in an attempt to establish a silk industry in the eastern United States. Its current distribution is spotty along the Atlantic coast from Connecticut to Georgia and west to northern Kentucky.
Conservation: Not usually required.
NCGR: TX - Presumed extinct.
Management Needs: None reported.
Comments: NULL
Get your BAMONA Gear!

Hoodies and t-shirts in two designs!

Advertise with us!

Do you have a product or service that you think would interest BAMONA users? If you would like to advertise on this website, contact us by email, or use the contact form and select the "Advertising" category.