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Species Page - Hyalophora cecropia
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scientific name    Hyalophora cecropia    

common name     Cecropia Silkmoth

Shelter belts and riparian areas where Manitoba maple grows in the southeastern prairie region.

Mid June to early July. Adults are active from about 3:00 AM until sunrise.

Similar to Glover's Silkmoth, but the Cecropia Silkmoth can be distinguished by the presence of a red distal border to the white postmedian band. Slightly larger than other members of the genus Hyalophora, this species has the largest wing area of any lepidopteran in North America.

life history
This species overwinters as a pupa in large (80mm long) cocoons attached to shrubs and small trees, generally within three feet of the ground (Peterson & Worden 1962). Cocoons can be distinguished from those of H. columbia gloveri by their construction, which is tapered at both ends in cecropia and teardrop-shaped in gloveri. The Cecropia silkmoth should be looked for in Manitoba Maple (Acer negundo) groves along creek and river valley bottoms. Native stands of Manitoba Maple are found along the Red Deer river between Dinosaur Provincial Park and the AB/SK border, and the South Saskatchewan river between Medicine Hat and the AB/SK border (Spalding 1980).

This species is declining in parts of its range, and has not been recorded in AB in recent decades.

diet info
Larvae are known to feed on a variety of trees and shrubs, but have a strong preference for Manitoba Maple in the prairie provinces. This tree is commonly cultivated for shelter belts in agricultural areas, and McGugan (1958) states cecropia larvae can cause severe defoliation.Other hosts include Caragana, Green Ash, White Elm, apple, willow, White Birch, Trembling Aspen, Lilac (an introduced ornamental), Prunus spp., maple, hawthorn, sumac, currant and alder. Adults do not feed.

Confirmed records of H. cecropia for Alberta are restricted to the southeastern part of the province, from the Lloydminster area southwest to Taber. A report of this species for Beaverlodge in the Peace River Parkland by Bowman (1951) appears to be erroneous. At the northwestern edge of its' range in Alberta, occuring east to Nova Scotia and south to Florida and Mexico.

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Comments (7)Add New Comment

Rhonda Hodges (2011-08-05)
We have just found a huge Hyalophora cecropia in our backyard in DRESDEN Ontario Canada. It was trying to climb our back fence to reach a maple tree. It was extremely large and it''s body was very fat. We have never seen one before!

Lynn Gibson (2012-05-17)
We had two (2) here in London, ON in our backyard. Large, green caterpillars slowly moving across the lawn (we would pick them up and move them back where they came from-not knowing what they were or where they were going-we did this twice. Finally let them be and the moved into the lilac bush we had, spun their coccoons and emerged a time later-large, beautiful creatures! We did also protect them from predators (in coccoon stage) with some netting, allowing them to leave through the opening in the top. We called the University and they said it was rare for them to be this far.

Steph (2013-06-09)
These moths are present in the Peace Country. Between 2002 and 2005, I worked at Historic Dunvegan Provincial Park, and I used to see the moths there. Missionaries and fur traders planted Manitoba Maples there.

Melinda B (2013-08-06)
Found the catipillar of a "Hyalophora cecropia" feeding on some ground cover. The second one I have found in the last 5 years. I live in the Tomahawk, Ab area.

Lee Anne (2013-09-06)
Found the caterpillar on a piece of wood earning against my garage, I live in northern Ontario, we were curious why is it here, how could it get here, what is it doing, it's cocoon is full now and harder......any info would be great, I have a photo not sure how too send it cecropia silk mate is what I think it is.....if interested I can send my photo

Douglas (2014-08-05)
I work in a park in Buffalo, NY, on the shores of lake Erie, just a few miles from the Province of Ontario. Today we discovered a Hyalophora Cecropia caterpiller on a white Birch tree.

O'Neva Kupka Spencer (2017-05-25)
Ours is an interesting story. It was found as a caterpillar and before we could release it, it had turn into a cocoon, now almost a year later it hatched. Very beautiful and our kiddos at school were so excited to see that it is alive. We are in Casper Wyoming. We also have some very nice photos..

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Related Species Info
Display Hierarchy
References (4)
Specimen Info
There are 13 specimens of this species in the online database
Map Distribution
Adult Seasonal Distributioncreate a collection histogram with specimens
Specimen List (13)
Related Links
Moth Photographers Group


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