for Lindsey DF...

James J. Kruse kruse at
Mon Sep 22 13:17:48 EDT 1997


Really sorry for posting this to the whole list, but this person asked a
question about a posting I had made on Leps-L and I couldn't respond to
them personally because the address was no good...

Looking forward to Simone's automated response.

So, Lindsey DF, fix your address please... or no one can talk to you!

  ----- The following addresses had permanent fatal errors -----
<ELLMO3 at>

   ----- Transcript of session follows -----
.... while talking to
>>> RCPT To:<ELLMO3 at>
<<< 550 <ELLMO3 at>... User unknown
550 <ELLMO3 at>... User unknown

On Fri, 19 Sep 1997, Lindsey DF wrote:

>       I read your e-mail and was slightly confused.  For a project in
>school we are suppose to find the common names for some butterflies and
>moths.  The only one I can't find is the one with the scientific name of
>Philosamia cynthia.  When reading your message I saw that you are talking
>about a moth that's scientific name is Samia cynthia and that it is in
>the Genus of Hyalophora.  I am confusd.  Are we talking about the same
>moth or two different ones.  Would you please e'mail me and tell me if we
>are talking about the same moth or what the common name is for the one
>I'm looking for.  Thank you ever so much.


Yes, that was a pretty confusing exchange.  The way I understand it, a few
decades ago, the whole lot belonged to the genus Samia.  Now the cynthia
moth belongs in the genus Samia, and the North American natives are in the
genus Hyalophora.

I wrote a message that I had attracted ceanothus moths (Hyalophora
euryalis), a west coast native to cecropia moth (Hyalophora cecropia)
females.  Someone wrote and said that ceanothus moths were in the genus
Samia and were foreign (not accurate).  I then answered saying that
Hyalophora used to be Samia, but not any more, and that Samia cynthia was
the non-native. Whenever there is new information about a group of moths
that clearly shows that they are related to one another to a greater or to
a lesser extent, the names are 'revised'.  Now, instead of one genus
(Samia) there are two (Samia and Hyalophora).

Okay, so, the moth you are interested in is Samia cynthia which lives in
the New England area (and parts of Eurasia).  The common name here in the
U.S. is Ailanthus silk moth, named for its food plant. I have also heard
the common name 'cynthia moth' but as you probably know, most silk moth
common names are just the species name with 'moth' after it.

A good book for silk moths is:
Tuskes, Tuttle, and Collins. 1996. The Wild Silkmoths of North America.
Cornell Univ. Press.

Hope that helps!
Jim Kruse
University of California at Berkeley
Dept. of Environ Sci, Policy and Mgmt.
Div. of Insect Biology
Sperling Lab
201 Wellman Hall
Berkeley, California, 94720-3113
(510) 642-5114/7410

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