Cecropia: Our Largest Moth!

By Sheila Vincent, Public Programs Coordinator
A male Cecropia Moth, on display in the Butterfly House at Ashland. Image by Derek Stoner, June 22, 2011.


Right now, there is a newly-emerged Cecropia Moth in the Butterfly House at Ashland.   These are huge, spectacular moths (the largest in North America, with a 6-inch wingspan) that are very short-lived.

Cecropias belong to the giant silkmoth family, whose members typically only live a few days to a week as adults.  Most even lack mouthparts, so they don’t even feed! 

The Cecropia in the Butterfly House appears to be a male (very lush antennae, fluttering around trying to get out and find a female…), so there is a greater chance of it damaging its wings than if it were a female.  Females just hang around emitting pheromones and waiting for a male to come along. So go check it out before it’s too late!

The Ashland Butterfly House recently opened for the summer season and is open daily from 9:00am to 4:00pm. For information about visiting:  http://www.delawarenaturesociety.org/butterflyhouse.html

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