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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Columbia Silkmoth - Hyalophora columbia

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNR

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General Description
The wings of the Columbia Silkmoth (Hyalophora Columbia) are dark brown to red-brown. The gray area outside the white postmedian band does not contain any red. The crescent spots on the forewings and hindwings are white, although occasionally the spots on the forewing may be reduced or absent. The wing span is about 80 - 100 mm (Opler et al. 2010).

Columbia Silkmoth females lay one or two eggs at the base of larch needles, or on leaves and twigs of other host plants. The larvae hatch in less than two weeks and are solitary feeders. The cocoon is compact and spun close to the ground on the trunk or stem of the host plant or on nearby thick undergrowth. There is one flight from May-July (Opler et al. 2010).

Range Comments
In the east the Columbia Silkmoth ranges from Quebec and Ontario to Michigan, northern Wisconsin, and southeastern Manitoba. In the west it ranges from Alberta and Montanta south through the Rocky Mountain region to southwest Texas and into central Mexico (Opler et al. 2010).

Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 15

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Woodland with poorly drained, boggy, acid soil; suburban gardens; and a wide variety of wooded habitats (Opler et al. 2010).

Food Habits
In the east the larvae feed on tamarack (Larix laricina). Also in the east, larvae in western Ontario eat pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica), speckled alder (Alnus rugosa), and white birch (Betula papyrifera). In the west the larvae feed on western chokecherry (Prunus demissa), bitter cherry (P. emarginata), bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), wild roses (Rosa sp.), willows (Salix), buffalo berry (Shepherdia argentea), Russian olive (Eleagnus angustifolius), and buckbrush (Ceanothus). Adults do not feed (Opler et al. 2010).

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Citation for data on this website:
Columbia Silkmoth — Hyalophora columbia.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from