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.

species page editorRobinson, E. 
species page authorSchmidt, B. C. 

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