The Basics:

  • Does it sting? No, despite all the tubercles and spines.

  • What does it eat? Many plants, including privet, ash, birch, oak, and walnut.

  • Will it seriously damage plants or trees? Not usually.

  • Is it rare? No, but it appears to be becoming less common.

  • What does it turn into? A huge, beautiful moth.

  • Can you raise it to an adult? Yes -- this species does well in captivity.

Cecropia Giant Silk Moth

This is a BIG caterpillar, growing up to five inches long. And it looks amazing as well -- check out the brightly colored "clubs" on it. The cecropia caterpillar feeds on oak, willow, and maple, among other trees and bushes. It can be found wandering around in late summer as it looks for a place to spin its tough, brown cocoon. This spectacular caterpillar turns into an even more spectacular moth. The cecropia moth, below, is a bat-sized beauty that belongs to the group of "giant silk moths." These are among the largest Lepidoptera in North America.

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Cecropia moth: Hyalophora cecropia

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