May 12, 2015

Wild About: Cecropia Moths

Wild About is a celebration of the flora and fauna commonly found in our cities. Instead of fact sheets, this space will showcase books, art, music, societies, and whimsical objects about urban-adaptable plants and animals. If you would like to see your favorite urban-oriented plant or animal featured, please email us at info(at)localecology(dot)org.


I was not expecting to see a cecropia moth on the Spring Nature Walk in Washington Square Park last week Friday. In fact, I did not know about the existence of the cecropia moth. The cecropia moth, Hyalophora cecropia, is, according to Wikipedia, "North America's largest native moth." And I saw one in Washington Square Park. On a sunny Friday morning. Adult cecropia moths are nocturnal. This individual seemed adult sized, but it also seemed undisturbed by the din caused but its presence. It was at rest at the base of a fence post across from the big playground in the park. The section of fence was near to a crabapple tree. Maple, birch, and apple are among the trees cecropia moth larvae feed on. In addition to the adult humans on the nature walk, there was an excited group of schoolchildren. Initially, a couple of the boys were attempting to harass the moth with a stick but once we exclaimed about the awesomeness of this creature, they turned towards closely observing and photographing the moth. The children were not participating in the same walk as I was; they had traveled from Harlem to participate in a Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation "Greenwich Village: History and Historic Preservation" education program tour.


Watch videos of the cecropia moth here.

Images of the moth can be seen here.

The cecropia caterpillar's coloration is equally interesting.

Have you seen a cecropia moth?

Check out other Wild About posts: BeesHorsesSnowy owlsSquirrelsEating insectsChipmunksPigeonsGinkgo.

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