May 29th, 2015

Cecropia Silkmoth Makes a Big Impression

Cecropia moth

Cecropia silkmoth (Hyalophora cecropia)

This Cecropia silkmoth (Hyalophora cecropia) is beautiful enough to be in our Butterflies LIVE! exhibit, but actually, it’s not from the exhibit at all. Horticulturist Leah Purdy found this beauty outside on a winter Daphne on the North Terrace, just outside the Robins Visitor Center.  Believe it or not, the wingspan can be over 6 inches across.  As beautiful as the Cecropia silkmoth is in its adult form, it is just as lovely as a multi-color caterpillar.  The Cecropia silkmoth caterpillars can  vary in color from yellow to a more typical green, and also change colors throughout their development.  They are remarkable creatures — female moths produce pheromones to attract males, who have been noted to travel a mile or more to a female. And while the caterpillars feed on a variety of plants, the adults don’t eat at all!

We just feel lucky he chose to make an appearance at the Garden this week. I always say, look closely when you go for a walk in the Garden, you never know what you may find.

Cecropia silkmoth  or Hyalophora cecropia

Cecropia silkmoth (Hyalophora cecropia)



Jonah Holland is Digital Content Manager at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, where she has worked for 14 years overseeing social media, the blog, and the website. She is also a mom, yogi, open water swimmer, gardener, and seeker. She's been known to go for a walk in the Garden and come back with hundreds of plant photos, completely inspired to write her next blog post.

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