Information about the luna moth, the cecropia moth and many other silk moths comes from personal experience, however, several texts have been referenced: Credits
It's recommended you read the following information before the specific information pages.
This is some general information that applies to all the silk moths (Saturniidae) on my page (if not all in the U.S.)Eating and Living Habits:
Silk Moths don't eat! They have to live on any food they stored as a caterpillar. Since they have a limited supply of energy and food, silk moths usually live only about a week. This lifespan can be increased to about a month if they are kept in the fridge, where very little energy is being used by them.Scenting and Mating:
On this site, for each specific moth, I have the times that females put out their scent to attract males. However, this time is very general, and is for my area and from my experience. It may vary widely in different areas of the country. Each moth has a specific time for puting out it's scent. To see the specific times, please click below the appropriate link for the moth you want to see.
The female moth puts out a "scent" (which is really a pheromone, and cannot be smelled) at a specific time (different for every moth). This scent is picked up by the males with their sensitive antennae. A male moth may fly up to 5 miles in one night to reach the female and mate with it!
When a female moth hatches, it remains where it hatches until it gets male to mate with it. It attempts to attract males in with it's scent. If a female does not get a male to come to it, after 3 to 4 days, it WILL fly away from where it hatched, and will also start laying unfertilized eggs. They can still mate after this occurs, you just won't get as many good eggs out of them. If a female does get a mate to come in, they can remain paired for up to 24 hours. They can be broken apart after about five minutes and the egg should be fertilized, but there really is no reason to do this, so it's best to leave them coupled until they break up on their own. The only time you might want to break them up is if the female is older and you fear it might die before laying all it's eggs, otherwise you should let the couple separate by themselves.Eggs:
After the female lays its eggs, they usually hatch about 7 - 14 days later. This is not neccessary, but usually you have enough eggs that you can spare a couple. After about a week, if you don't feel like waiting another week to see if the eggs will hatch, you can take a pin and very carefully pop open an egg. If it is fertilized you will see the formation of a very small caterpillar.Differentiating Males and Females:
Male and female silk moths differ slightly. There are a few ways to tell, but if you are not experienced (and even if you are) , it is sometimes very difficult to tell the difference.
Pick which moth you want to learn about and click on the colored link:
For information on some of the rarer silk moths of North America click on the appropriate link: Here are some of the rarer silk moths in North America. These "rarer" moths may be found commonly in your area they are categorized here because of their rarity or absence in my area.
This page has been visited since May 14th, 2000.
This page last updated on: January 28th, 2005