The Giant Silkworm Moth is found in South America. Specimens have been sited in southern Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina. The name Giant Silkworm moth has been given to several giant moths found in the Saturniidae family, but the focus here will be on Lonomia obliqua. While the adult form of the L. obliqua is fairly inconspicuous, the larval form can be deadly, causing more than a thousand cases of poisoning from 1997 to 2005, with several human deaths every year. These numbers are underestimated due to many accidents occurring in rural areas that are too distant to report.
The royal or regal moths and the giant silk moths belong to the family Saturniidae. Most members of this faintly are large moths, the cecropia being the largest moth in North America. Because of their large size and sometimes striking colors and shapes, they attract a lot of attention when they are encountered, even among people who have no special interest in entomology. Also because the moths are rarely abundant, they are hardly ever taken for granted when one announces its presence by fluttering against a window at night.
Lonomia obliqua, the giant silkworm moth (a name also used for a wide range of other saturniid moths), is a species of saturniid moth from South America. It is famous for its larval form, rather than the adult moth, primarily because of the caterpillar's defense mechanism, urticating bristles that inject a potentially deadly venom. The caterpillar has been responsible for many human deaths, especially in southern Brazil. Its venom has been the subject of numerous medical studies. The species was first described by Francis Walker in 1855. Guinness World Records classified the Lonomia obliqua as the most venomous caterpillar in the world.
Saturniidae, commonly known as saturniids, is a family of Lepidoptera with an estimated 2,300 described species. The family contains some of the largest species of moths in the world. Notable members include the emperor moths, royal moths, and giant silk moths.
Silkworm moths are not in the same family as the mulberry silkworm (Bombyx mori) that is raised in captivity and used to create the silk that is used in clothing, but silk from the cocoons of some some species of giant silkworm moths, like the Chinese Tussah moth (Antheraea pernyi) and the Assam silkmoth (Antheraea assamensis), has been cultivated in the wild and used to create silk cloth.
In South America, there are many dangerous animals and insects but there is one that is more dangerous than all the rest. Lonomia obliqua is very well known for its very poisonous larva state. It has been called the assassin caterpillar and the killer caterpillar, but really it is only the larva of the giant silkworm moth. This chemically defending arthropod uses its specialized bristles to harm anything that it may come in contact with in its larva state. According to many sceptics, the L. obliqua is considered to be in the top 25 most poisonous animals.
Anyone who has lived in New England and been around outdoor lights in May or June may have encountered some of our giant silkworm moths which .are members of the Saturniidae moths. The diminutive slug moths, Limacodiae, are perhaps not as well known, but they are commonly attracted to lights as well. Both are natives here in Connecticut and are spectacular in their own way.
Luna moths are probably the most recognized giant silkworm moth with their light green color and a pair of long tails streaming from the hind wings. Polyphemus are another species that have beautiful blue and yellow eye spots on the hind wings. Late instar Polyphemus caterpillars have striking white dots along their body that shimmer with silver at certain angles in bright sunlight.
All silkworm moths lack fully developed mouths and cannot feed. They mate soon after emerging from their cocoons, as their life span as a moth is short. All overwinter as pupa and most emerge mid- May and onward the following year. Eggs are large and smooth. Somewhat flattened, and may be laid singly or in small to large rafts, depending upon species.
Slug moths are attracted to lights, and if identified, a search of larval host plants nearby may yield some caterpillars. Feeding takes place along leaf edges, and sometimes a shiny trail is left where they have glided along the leaf. Adult sightings peak in midsummer, with caterpillars found from June- October. Like the giant silkworms, adult slug moths do not eat.
No, no, I'm not talking "Mothra" here. (You know . . . Mothra? Godzilla's fearsome foe? No? Yeesh, I guess I am getting old.) A giant silk moth around here is about the size of the palm of your hand. The biggest moth in the world is the size of two hands. But compared to most butterflies and moths, the silk moths are giants! They are also some of the most spectacular insects you will ever see.
Giant silk moths (Family: Saturniidae, Subfamily: Saturniinae, with 10 species in Canada and the United States) draw their collective name from the fine silk they use to spin their cocoons which serve as protection for the pupal stage in their life cycle. The commercial "silkworm" moth (Bombyx mori) is from a different family (Bombycidae).
The life cycle of a giant silk moth is pretty simple: hatch, eat, grow, pupate, emerge, mate, lay eggs, die; all in the span of one year. In late spring and early summer adult silk moths emerge from the cocoons where they have spent winter. In southern Manitoba the main emergence is usually sometime from mid-May to mid-June, later as you venture further north. (Further south, in the central and southern United States, silk moths may squeeze two life cycles into one year.) There is usually one period, several days to one week, within the late spring when most of the adults will emerge, though there will always be early-birds and stragglers. This synchrony is important in ensuring that males and females can find each other for mating. The first real warm spell of the year, when temperatures reach into the 20's C and nights stay warm for several days can trigger the main moth emergence.
Have you ever felt something made out of silk? Silk is a smooth, shiny, soft fabric that's used in ties, scarves, and dresses. You might be surprised to learn that silk is actually made by a special caterpillar called a silkworm.
Starting out in life as a shockingly unique caterpillar, even their larval forms are stunning to observe. From the apple green picky sticky envenomating Io caterpillar to the blue and red tubercles ending in an array of anemone-like spikes on the Cecropia moth caterpillar, silkworms are stunners. Some like the Imperial moths have three distinct color forms of caterpillars with long, silky hairs.
This image has been assessed under the valued image criteria and is considered the most valued image on Commons within the scope: Molippa sabina (Giant silkworm moth) dorsal. You can see its nomination here.
The Saturniidae are members of the Superfamily Bombycoidea. These species are medium to very large in size, and this family includes the largest moths in North America. Adults have a wingspan of 3 to 15 centimeters, relatively small heads, and densely hairy bodies. Larvae are usually very fleshy, with clumps of raised bristles. Buck moth and Io moth caterpillars have sharp, stinging hairs. Caterpillars mostly feed on leaves of trees and shrubs; some cause severe damage. Pupa develop in silken cocoons or in the soil. This family does not contain the commercial silkworm moth (Bombyx mori), which is not native to North America.
The channel catfish industry has experienced tremendous growth over the last several years. This growth has triggered more intensive culture practices resulting in disease outbreaks and devastating mortalities. Medicated feeds and vaccination have been of limited use. This research presents studies on techniques to produce disease resistant channel catfish by gene transfer. The gene used was the cecropin B gene from the giant silkworm moth Hyalophora cecropia, controlled by an acute phase response (APR) promoter also from H. cecropia. The objectives of this study were to: (1) determine if an early maturing population of catfish from Lake Maurepas, Louisiana, could he used as a model fish for genetic research; (2) develop techniques for the collection of unfertilized catfish eggs; (3) determine the effect of electroporation of eggs on the resulting embryos, and (4) develop screening methods of embryos to determine the percentage transgenic fish. The early maturing channel catfish population from Lake Maurepas, Louisiana was determined to be a normal population of channel catfish in all respects other than maturing at an early age and small size, and spawning later in the year when compared to other populations of channel catfish in southern Louisiana. An alternative channel catfish spawning method in which females are grouped rather than paired with males is described. The proportion of successful spawns for paired females (41%) was not significantly different (P = 0.64) from that of the grouped females (58%). Percent fertilization was significantly different (P = 0.02) for eggs stripped from paired females (43 $\pm$ 37%) and grouped females (16 $\pm$ 20%). The grouped method has promise if timing for collection of high quality eggs can be determined. The effect of electroporation of unfertilized eggs on fertilization and hatching rate was significant $(P 041b061a72