Overview

Brief Summary

The promethea moth (Callosamia promethea) is an impressive saturnid moth with a 7-10cm wingspan, native to eastern North American woodlands. Like other saturnids, the adult moths do not feed. Males and females are sexually dimorphic in wing coloration and pattern. Eggs are laid in batches of up to about 30, and the first instar caterpillars feed together from a wide range of host plants, including foliage of birch, cherry, maple, sweetgum, sassafras, spicebush, and yellow poplar. When larvae get bigger, they become solitary. Interestingly, after eating leaf tissues between the veins, a caterpillar will cut the leaf at the base of the petiole so that it falls off the plant; this is thought to help remove visual and olfactory evidence of their presence, and thus confound predators. When caterpillars grow to a full size they wrap themselves in the leaf hanging from a hostplant and build a silk cocoon, in which they overwinter. Moths emerge from their hanging cocoon in spring. In southern habitats two generations occur per year.

(Butterflies and moths of North America; Hyche 2001; Wikipedia 2011)

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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Callosamia promethea

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 16
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Wikipedia

Callosamia promethea

The Promethea Silkmoth (Callosamia promethea), is a member of the Saturniidae family of moths.

Description[edit]

Males have dark brownish-black wings with a faint white postmedian line and pinkish coloring near the apical spot. Females are bright reddish-pink or a brownish color with well-developed reniform spots. Both sexes have tannish marginal borders. Their wingspan measures 7.5-9.5 cm.

Range[edit]

C. promethea is found in the eastern half of the United States and lower parts of eastern Canada.

Life cycle[edit]

Mating takes place in the afternoon to early evening, and egg-laying begins at night. Females are attracted to lights, but males are not. Females lay 2-12 eggs in a single cluster on host plants. The early instar larvae feed together on the underside of leaves. They are greenish-yellow and striped with black. The older larvae are solitary and are green with 4 red knobs above the thorax and 1 yellow knob on the eighth abdominal segment. On the lower branches of the food plant, the larva makes a cocoon within a leaf, firmly attaching the petiole to the branch. C. promethea has 1 brood in the north (which flies from June–July) and 2 or more broods in the south (which fly from March–May and from July–August).

Food Plants[edit]

The larvae of C. promethea feed on a variety of plants including- but not restricted to- the following:

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  • David L. Wagner 2005. Caterpillars of Eastern North America. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. ISBN 0-691-12143-5
  • Charles V. Covell, Jr. 2005. Moths of Eastern North America. Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville, Virginia. ISBN 1-884549-21-7
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