Animals

Astonish-wing Regal Moth Facts Kids Will Love

We have curated Regal Moth facts for you to know about these fascinating insects of the wild.
Share
Tweet

The Regal Moth, which is also known as the royal walnut moth, is a North American moth belonging to the Saturniidae genus and order Lepidoptera. Hickory horned devils are the caterpillars' name. The adult's wingspan ranges from 3.75-6.1 in (9.5-15.5 cm). The first person to describe the genus was Johan Christian Fabricius in 1793. It is nocturnal, like most moths that exist. The Imposing Caterpillar, famously referred to as the Hickory Horned Devil, is usually seen when it is fully grown and emerges from the trees to look for a pupation spot.

The Hickory Horned Devil Caterpillar (larva of the Royal Walnut Moth, Citheronia regalis) has a ferocious appearance but is harmless. It has a black-spined, green body with black-tipped red spines behind its back. Walnut, hickory, and persimmon leaves are the main sources of nutrition, hence the name! The adult Regal Moth's forewings are olive-gray with yellow spots and red veins, and the hindwings are reddish-orange with yellow markings.

The Regal Moth lays her eggs on various fruit and nut trees made of hardwood, and the caterpillars take ten days to hatch in. But for their spines and horns, the juvenile caterpillar shows no similarity to the adult caterpillar. Until they begin burrowing into the earth to pupate, where they start black, then turn brown, tan, light green, and eventually brilliant turquoise green. These are solitary caterpillars that, despite their size, do not cause a lot of destruction to their host tree like other pests. The Regal Moth caterpillar grows from a hatchling to a mature and ready-to-pupate state in 35-45 days.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you could definitely check our articles on woodchuck or blackburnian warbler.

Regal Moth

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Walnut, hickory, and persimmon leaves

What do they eat?

Herbivores

Average litter size?

1-4 eggs

How much do they weigh?

N/A

How long are they?

3.7-6 in (9.5-15.5 cm)

How tall are they?

N/A

What do they look like?

Reddish-brown

Skin Type

Thickly coated with spines

What are their main threats?

Flies and other larger insects

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Deciduous forests

Locations

North America

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Insecta

Scientific Name

Citheronia regalis (Fabricius)

Family

Saturniidae

Genus

Citheronia

Regal Moth Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Regal Moth?

Regal Moth, Citheronia regalis (Fabricius), is an insect and comes under the general classification of the Kingdom Animalia.

What class of animal does a Regal Moth belong to?

Regal Moth, Citheronia regalis (Fabricius), belongs to the class of Insecta.

How many Regal Moths are there in the world?

No official study has been conducted to know the population of Regal Moths around the world yet.

Where does a Regal Moth live?

Regal Moth, Citheronia regalis (Fabricius), is a widespread species in the American Deep South, but it gets rarer and more intermittent as we head north. It can be found in the United States' deciduous forests from Missouri to Massachusetts and southward from Texas to central Florida. The genus, which had previously been reported in New England, encountered a decline in the Atlantic Northeast during the mid-twentieth century.

What is a Regal Moth's habitat?

From New Jersey all the way to Missouri, south towards the east of Texas and central Florida, the Regal Moth can be found in deciduous woodland areas in the eastern United States (North America). Towards the south of its range, it is more popular. They used to be found near Massachusetts, but they appear to be dwindling in terms of numbers in other areas of its range. On host plants, walnut, hickories, pecan, sweetgum, persimmon, and sumac, hickory horned devils can be found. Young caterpillars eat only a small amount of vegetation, but the later stages consume a large amount.

Who do Regal Moths live with?

They are solitary creatures who generally keep to themselves.

How long does a Regal Moth live?

In six days, the eggs hatch, and the larval stage lasts about 35 days. The adult Regal Moth has a lifespan of about ten days.

How do they reproduce?

Pheromones are released by females, which the male can detect through his broad, plumose antennae. Males will travel thousands of miles to find a female. After the moths mate, the female spends the rest of her life laying eggs, while the male will mate many times more. Vestigial mouths are mouthparts that have been diminished in adults of this moth family. As a result, they don't feed and survive for just about a week as adults.

Adult moths begin oviposition at dusk on the third evening after emergence and mate on the second evening after emergence. The eggs hatch in days, and the larval period lasts about 35 days. Larvae are typically found roaming on the ground in central Florida from late July to mid-August, looking for the right place to burrow into the soil for pupation.

While a few late collection reports show the existence of a minor second brood in the deep south, the Regal Moth usually only has one generation each year. Adults have been spotted in Florida as early as May, although they are more frequent in the summer.

What is their conservation status?

Citheronia regalis is home to at least six species of tachinid flies (Diptera: Tachinidae), one species of sarcophagid fly (Diptera: Sarcophagidae), and one species of braconid wasp are amongst the threats to the Regal Moth. Regardless the Regal Moth is under no threat or concern.

Regal Moth Fun Facts

What does Regal Moth look like?

The forewings of the Regal Moths are grey with orangish tints; they are truly beautiful.

The Regal Moth has a wing size of 3.75-6.1 in (9.5-15.5 cm). Females have a greater body size than males. They tend to have gray-green forewings with orange veins and a band of seven to nine yellow spots near the distal margin. The hind wing is mainly orange, with a mark at the base and spots on the coastal and anal margins. One to two sets of gray-green spots can be found on the hind wing. The body is orange with a thin yellow band running across it.

The hickory horned devil larva is one of our largest native saturniid caterpillars. The color of the caterpillars varies somewhat, but they are typically blue-green. Two long and two shorter orange, black color tipped scoli appear in the second and third thoracic segments, respectively (tubercles in the form of spinose projections of the body wall). Segments from two to eight have a pale, oblique lateral stripe, and each segment has four narrow black scoli. Despite its threatening nature, the larva is absolutely harmless.

How cute are they?

The Regal Moth species looks very cute. If they were to be rated from one to ten, their score might be as high as a nine! They are really colorful in their adult forms, brown or orange wings with yellow spots on them. They also have short black legs and orange veins on the wings. Their larvae or caterpillar form is really unique, too. The bright green color with their signature black-tipped red horns is the reason why they are also known as the Hickory Horned Devil.

How do they communicate?

A comprehensive study about how these fascinating creatures communicate has yet to be done, but adult Regal Moth, Citheronia regalis (Fabricius), use pheromones to communicate during mating season.

How big is a Regal Moth?

This is easily how you can find and identify the Regal Moth. The Regal Moth Citheronia regalis can be identified by its size apart from its stripes and spots. It belongs to the family of Giant Silk Moth, and the Regal Moth size can be as big as a human hand. The wingspan of an adult is 3.7-6 in (9.5-15.5 cm).

How fast can Regal Moths fly?

Regal Moth (Citheronia regalis) has a narrow body, allowing them to fly quickly and over long distances, but the speed has never been officially recorded.

How much does a Regal Moth weigh?

There is not enough information available on the weight of the Regal Moth.

What are there male and female names of the species

They do not have gender-specific names as such.

What would you call a baby Regal Moth?

Baby Regal Moths are called larvae or caterpillars, depending upon their stage in the lifecycle.

What do they eat?

Larvae can be found in many host tree species. They are commonly present on walnut, butternut, or white walnut, and many hickories, including pecan, persimmon, sumacs, and sweet-gum.

Are they dangerous?

They are not dangerous. Their intimidating nature is a myth. The spines, though prickly, do not sting, and the larvae are harmless.

Would they make a good pet?

Most probably not, as the hickory horned devil has a short lifespan, and caring for delicate insects like butterflies and moths is an impossible task.

Did you know...

Despite their looks and spiny features, they are not poisonous.

They only live for about ten days. How unfortunate, right? These species are found in the Eastern United States, from New York to Florida and New Jersey. The caterpillar feeds on hickory and walnuts, persimmon, sycamore, sweet gums, and a variety of other trees. The caterpillar pupates in an earthen chamber underground.

The Hickory Horned Devil might be large, but the world's largest caterpillar is the Lonomia obliqua, a giant silkworm.

Adult Regal Moths typically fold up their legs into a tent-like shape. They end up looking like a pyramid from above. This is their resting phase and this truly helps them relax.

Are Regal Moths the largest in the world?

The Regal Moth is surely one of the largest moths in the world, but the Atlas Moth is the world's largest moth.

Funny behaviors of Regal Moths

Regal Moths have not been witnessed performing many funny activities in the wild, such as funny squeaks and raiding beehives for honey!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods, including rosy maple moth, or io moth.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Regal Moth coloring pages.

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.

Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.

Sponsorship & Advertising Policy

Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.

We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.

Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.

We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.

Read our Sponsorship & Advertising Policy
Get The Kidadl Newsletter

1,000 of inspirational ideas direct to your inbox for things to do with your kids.

Thank you! Your newsletter will be with you soon.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
No items found.
No items found.