Learn about The Unique and Huge Promethea Caterpillar

Because it favors spicebush, the Promethea Moth (Callosamia Promethea) is also known as the Spicebush Silk Moth, though it can also be found on tulip trees, sassafras, sweet bay, white ash, lilac, and other plants. This kind of caterpillar is also one of the world’s largest caterpillars.  Larvae of this species, which is seventh on this list, hatch out at a length of about 3mm and can grow up to 45mm (1.7 inches) in a resting position but up to 60mm (2.3 inches) in an active state. It has black and yellow stripes during its first instar, but by the time it reaches its last instar, those stripes have changed to pale green. It has a yellow knob on its eighth abdominal segment and four bright red protuberances on its thoracic region. The fact that the males of this species are active during the day and the females are nocturnal is one of its distinctive characteristics. They overlap in activity in the early evening hours, so they can still spread despite having different active states. 

Therefore, be extremely cautious and gentle with them the next time you come across them in the garden, the forest, or any other location where they feed and reproduce. Although they may not seem alluring to some or most of us, they are quite amazing when given the chance to develop into full-fledged butterflies.

More About The Callosamia Promethea

The Promethea silk moth, or Callosamia Promethea, belongs to the Saturniidae family, which has about 1,300 species overall. Another name for it is the spicebush silk moth, which alludes to one of the common host plants for the Promethea silk moth. Due to Callosamia Promethea’s capacity to produce silk during the creation of its cocoon, it is categorized as a silk moth. The eastern United States forests are home to the Callosamia Promethea, which doesn’t harm the trees it depends on for survival. Dru Drury first identified the species in 1773.

In the winter, Callosamia Promethea pupates while hanging from trees after emerging from eggs and feeding on its host plants. It then makes an appearance, mating at a particular hour of the day. Both sexes mate multiple times, with the females using pheromones to draw in males. Males are diurnal and females are nocturnal, making them the only moth species in their family where the sexes are not active at the same time of day. They only interact during the early evening hours when their activities coincide. As a form of defense against predators, the males mimic the deadly pipevine swallowtail butterfly. Aside from Promethea, there is Imperial Caterpillar that’s strange and huge as well

How To Identify The Callosamia Promethea

Men and women are different. The male’s body is all-black, and the wings have pink near the eyespots on the forewing tips, tan borders, and barely discernible tan postmedian lines. All female wings are dark brown to reddish-brown with tan cell spots that are well-developed and have tan borders.

Life History Of The Callosamia Promethea

In the late afternoon and early evening, males search for females, and most mating takes place between 4 PM and sunset. Females lay rows of 4 to 10 eggs in a row on the upper side of host plant leaves at night. While older caterpillars eat alone, young caterpillars feed in groups. Older caterpillars instead cut the leaf petiole at the base, causing it to fall to the ground instead of eating the leaf midvein, possibly as a defensive maneuver to hide any visible or odorous signs of feeding. A ready-to-pupate caterpillar reinforces a leaf petiole with silk before spinning its cocoon inside the curled leaf. Throughout the winter, the cocoon is suspended from the host plant. 

Food Resources Of The Callosamia Promethea

Rosaceae, Oleaceae, and Lauraceae are just a few of the plant families that Callosamia Promethea uses as hosts. For the particular host plants tested in the study, there is no adverse effect on Callosamia Promethea larvae raised on a different host plant from that on which their parents were raised. More important to the health of the larvae than feeding on the typical host plant for a population is the nutritional value of the particular host plant. The tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), sassafras (Sassafrass albidum), and spicebush are a few examples of typical hosts (Lindera benzoin). In contrast, Callosamia Promethea does not eat while it is an adult.

Life Cycle Of The Callosamia Promethea

Life Cycle Of The Callosamia Promethea

Promethea caterpillars typically shed their skin four times while they are in the larval stage. Promethea’s skin pattern and color will change dramatically as a result of this. They have bodies that are striped in yellow and black when they hatch. They introduce white stripes with their first molt. My favorite shed is the second one, which abandons the stripes in favor of a body that is whitish-green with black polka dots and yellow ornaments. Their body eventually remains whitish-green after sheds three and four, with the addition of blue polka dots, bright red horns, and a yellow butt with a cheery smiley-face emoticon. 

1. Egg

On the leaves of the plants that serve as the caterpillars’ hosts, female Promethea silk moths lay their eggs. At night, the eggs are laid. The eggs of a female are laid in clusters of 4 to 10 at a time. Eggs are elliptical, white, and flat.

2. Caterpillar

When the caterpillar’s hatch, they tend to live alone. From the outside edge in, they consume leaves. Numerous host plants are consumed by the caterpillars. Initially yellow with black stripes, caterpillars eventually turn blue-green. They grow four red and one yellow protuberance once they are blue-green. These caterpillars go through several instars, or skin sheddings, and are typically prepared to spin a cocoon after the fifth shedding. The length and width of the caterpillars’ cocoons are equal.

3. Pupa

The Saturniidae family of caterpillars contains some species that pupate underground. Caterpillars of the Promethea silk moth, however, pupate in trees. With the help of their silk, the caterpillars cling directly to the tree branches. They then wrap themselves in a dead leaf. Winter is when Callosamia Promethea pupates.

4. Adult

This moth has a 3 to 4-inch wingspan (76 to 102 mm). Female Lepidoptera is typically larger than male Lepidoptera. Males have darker pigmentation, whereas females have more vivid hues. The edges of the wings of both males and females are tanned. The females have spots on all of their wings, whereas the males have a set of eyespots on their forewings. There is only one brood per year in the northern portion of the Promethea silk moth’s range, and it takes place in the early summer. There are two broods in the southern portion of the moth’s range, with the first taking place in the spring and the second in the late summer.