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Insects and other arthropods

Promethea moth

Callosamia promethea

Tabs group


These are large moths with a wingspan of 7.5 to 10 cm. There are marked differences between the males and females. The males have black wings with a tan border, while the females’ wings are brown or reddish-brown, also with a tan border. Both sexes have an eyespot on each forewing.

In the last instar, the large, hairless caterpillars are whitish green. They have four red knobs near the head and a yellow one near the tip of the abdomen. Their bodies are marked with black dots ringed with very light blue. The caterpillars change appearance with each instar.

Life cycle

The adults mate late in the day, generally between 4 p.m. and sunset, and the females lay their eggs that same night. They leave from 4 to 10 eggs on the leaves of host plants. The caterpillars feed together at first, but become solitary in the final instars. Mature caterpillars firmly attach a leaf stem to a branch with their silk, and then weave a cocoon in the rolled-up leaf. The cocoons can be seen hanging from host plants after the leaves have fallen. The insect spends the winter as a pupa inside the cocoon.

The species produces two generations per year in the southern part of its range, and only one farther north.

Geographic distribution

They are found in eastern North America.


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