To say we were excited to see this submission come in is an understatement. It’s the largest native moth in North America, females with a five to seven inch wingspan …and one we don’t get to admire here in western Montana. Populations can be found across most of continental North America east of the Rocky Mountains. Like our other giant silkmoths, males have smaller bodies but much larger and more feathery antennae than do females (a male is pictured here). When they emerge as adults, they don’t have functional mouthparts …meaning they don’t feed. They live for a week to two weeks tops, so it’s basically a race to mate. Larvae feed on leaves of various trees and shrubs including alder, apple, ash, beech, birch, box-elder, cherry, dogwood, elm, gooseberry, maple, plum, poplar, white oak, and willow.
Photo by: Brenda Hopkins on 6/10/21 in Broadus, MT