First Imperial Moth Since Before Katrina!

misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)July 30, 2012

Before Hurricane Katrina in August, 2005, big imperial moths often spent the day on the window screens or sometimes on the side of the house. Since then, I haven't seen a single imperial moth, until tonight, that is! This one was underneath the garage light -

The biggest lep I've ever seen was an imperial moth. One night I kept hearing a thumping noise against my window. I went to the front porch, turned on the light and saw a HUGE mostly yellow imperial moth flying off. I imagine this moth was a female, as I don't think a male would ever be this big. I would estimate this moth had a wingspan of about ?7"!!

The one tonight probably had about a ?5" wingspan, big enough. It's sure good to see one again - now I'll have to look up their favorite host plants.

If anybody knows whether this is a male or female, please let me know.


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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH


I'd say your imperial is a male.

Favorite host plants? The studies I've seen indicate the favorites are regional. Pines are a good bet.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 11:27AM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

That is exciting! Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 12:44PM
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Yay, so happy that you have them back again, Sherry!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 2:46PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Yes, me, too, Cathy and Sandy!

I agree that it's a male, KC. I looked them up, and read that they'll use a lot of different trees, most any tree in the woods around here. And the picture of a male by a female showed the male with a lot of purple and a narrow body at the bottom, much like this one.

Somebody brought me a last instar imperial caterpillar years ago, I put it in a container of clean dirt, it burrowed and emerged the next spring. The cat looked like a hairy pickle! :)


    Bookmark   July 30, 2012 at 4:35PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Last night there were two male imperial moths on the porch! One was faded, looked old, but one looked new and beautiful -


    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 8:17PM
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Gorgeous Lep. Hope to see some of those up here in WI.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 6:58AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Wow, beautiful moth. I would love to see them.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 1:38AM
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Hopefully I'll be seeing many next summer. My 20 imperial cats are getting big. I read that it takes between 4-6 weeks. Anyone know if it's usually closer to 4 or 6? How will I know when they are getting ready to pupate?

The one on the top left just molted two days ago, he is starting to get hairy, so neat!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2014 at 3:53PM
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    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 7:49AM
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Really beautiful. I never see this type of butterfly. Awesome color combination.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 5:52AM
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