Found this incredible Imperial Moth by my porch lights this morning! First time ever seeing this species!

This is a large North American moth in the family Saturniidae, the same family as other impressive moths like Luna or Promethea Moths. Adult moths, like this one, lack functional mouthparts, and do not eat during their short adulthood.

I live for cool moths.


Imperial moth (Eacles imperialis), Newark DE. July 2017. 

This large moth tends to appear in golden yellow with brown speckles, mimicking dead leaves when at rest. The males tend to be more speckled than females (the above is an example of a male). As caterpillars, they feed on many deciduous trees, including basswood, birch, elm, hickory, locust, maple, oak, sassafras, sweetgum, sycamore, and walnut. They also can feed on evergreen trees like cypress, cedar, and pine.

Here in the Mid-Atlantic, they show a preference for white pine (we’re rearing a colony on white pine). The adults do not feed, and may remain alive only for two or three days to mate. 

One generation in the eastern US, with adults by mid-summer, and eggs into August. Caterpillars overwinter as pupae in the soil.