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