Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Bicolored honey locust moth
Syssphinx bicolor (Harris, 1841)

Family: Saturniidae
Subfamily: Ceratocampinae
Identification: Much individual and seasonal variability. Females are larger than males. Upperside of wings ranges from reddish brown to reddish orange to brownish yellow. Forewing has a postmedian line which is distinct and bent toward the wing base or almost absent, and 0-2 white cell spots. Hindwing has no submedian line. Both wings have varying amounts of scattered black specks, or none at all.
Wing Span: 1 7/8 - 2 5/8 inches (4.7 - 6.7 cm).
Life History: Adults emerge in the evening and mate later that night. After dusk the next day, females lay eggs singly or in pairs on host plant leaflets. Hatching can occur in as few as 5 days, if the air temperature has been warm enough. The whole life cycle can be completed in 6 weeks. Fully-grown caterpillars pupate in shallow underground chambers. The late summer broods overwinter as pupae.
Flight: Populations in the extreme north have 2 broods each year from May-June and from July-August. There are 3 flights in the remainder of its range from April-September.
Caterpillar Hosts: Honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) and Kentucky coffee tree (Gymnocladus dioicus).
Adult Food: Adults do not feed.
Habitat: Deciduous woodland.
Range: Common. New Jersey west through southern Ontario to southwestern Wisconsin; south to central South Carolina, northern Georgia, central Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, east Texas, and the lower Rio Grande Valley; south to Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
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.
Alternate Scientific Names:
Sphingicampa bicolor
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