Giant Silkworm Moth (Cecropia) wows a photographer

Cecropia moth sleeping

Cecropia moth sleeping

Here we are again in the land of natural resources.  I walked outside to look at an herb garden I planted several years ago when a resident pointed out a sleeping moth nearby.  Wow, it was a giant silkworm moth.  The beautiful Cecropia moth. (Hyalophora cecropia) was sound asleep and didn’t even know I was there.

The colorful rusty legs, feathery antennae and patterned body with bull’s eye markings are enough to dazzle a viewer. This particular Cecropia is taking up residence in Shell Lake, Wisconsin.  I wish I knew more about this beautiful species. 

According to Wikipedia, differentiating between genders of this species is very easy. The most obvious difference is the plumrose antennae. Males possess a very bushy antenna while females will have  a moderately less bushy antenna. Females appear slightly larger in the abdomen due to the bulk of its many eggs. The abdomen of males appear more angular than that of the more rounded female abdomen.

Cecropia side view

Cecropia side view

Now the question is, is this moth male or female?  Look at this feathery antennae and yet the moth has a bulky abdomen.  I am guessing it is a female. 


Caterpillar photo from Wikipedia.

 Be happy Insectamonarca friends where ever you are.


  1. said,

    June 11, 2012 at 3:05 am

    I found this today in Norman Oklahoma on the river today..he was stuck to my 4 wheeler… Can I raise him?

    • June 11, 2012 at 3:37 am

      Hi Summeryouth8,

      What an experience. I don’t know how you could raise the beautiful moth, unless you have the caterillar and could supply it with it’s host plants, which are “leaves of many trees and shrubs, including ash, birch, box elder, alder, elm, maple, poplar, wild cherry, plum, willow, apple, and lilac.” The cercopia moth does not eat. It’s only purpose it to mate. It only lives for a few weeks. It is a lot of work to raise the caterpillars according to

      Here’s to you for caring and I hope this helps. Let me know how you make out.

  2. Greg said,

    May 8, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    I think its a male
    Female Saturniid moths invite males to mate by releasing a sex pheromone from a special gland at the end of their abdomens. The male moths are renowned for their determination and unwavering focus on the task of locating the receptive female. They have a keen sense of smell, thanks to their feathery antennae brimming with sensilla.

    • May 8, 2013 at 10:18 pm

      Thank you Greg. I loved reading about female Saturniid moths and description of mating rites. Thank you for sharing. We learn something new everyday. I absolutely love giant silkworm moths especially the Luna and Cecropia moths. They are all so glorious in this family.

  3. dee said,

    August 9, 2018 at 12:19 am

    hello, our family found one beside a parking lot entrance. our son has named it Lucky. Is it ok for us to have it inside, where it is safe from the danger in our yard like squirrels and birds/? we do have it set up in a container with shrubs and leaves. cool and dark space.

    • August 9, 2018 at 2:19 am

      Butterflies are free. They need to live out their natural lives outside in nature where they can meet a mate and regenerate. Butterflies live as as adult for a short time and need all the help they can get. It is best to plant native plants so that moths and butterflies can depend on native host plants. The host trees are ACERACEAE, “Maple Family”
      ADOXACEAE (CAPRIFOLIACEAE), “Elderberry-Honeysuckle Family”
      BETULACEAE, “Alder-Birch Family”
      CORNACEAE, “Dogwood Family”
      CUPRESSACEAE, “Cypress-Cedar Family”
      EBENACEAE, “Persimmon Family”
      ELIAGNACEAE, “Oleaster Family”

      I hope this helps. How old is your son? I have two books published on the Monarch Butterfly on Amazon by Mary Ellen Ryall if he wishes to learn more about butterflies. Best wishes, Mary Ellen

  4. Vasmadjides said,

    September 6, 2018 at 10:56 am

    My own quite lengthy web look up has by the end in the day recently been paid out along with pleasurable insight to express with my personal family and friends.

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