Lasiocampini, Harris, 1841

Pohl, Greg, Anweiler, Gary, Schmidt, Christian & Kondla, Norbert, 2010, An annotated list of the Lepidoptera of Alberta, Canada, ZooKeys 38 (38), pp. 1-549: 226-227

publication ID 10.3897/zookeys.38.383


persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name




1537 * R Malacosoma disstria (Hübner, 1820) M Jul  – E Aug m B – Forest Tent Caterpillar

T: Stehr and Cook (1968), Franclemont (1973)

L: Bowman (1951), Prentice (1963), Stehr and Cook

(1968), Franclemont (1973), Pohl et al. (2004b)


1538 * R Malacosoma californica (Packard, 1864) M Jul  – E Aug M B g Western Tent Caterpillar

T: Stehr and Cook (1968), Franclemont (1973)

L: Bowman (1951), Prentice (1963), Stehr and Cook

(1968), Franclemont (1973) C: CNC, NFRC,



57. Saturniidae  – giant silk moths

Large (up to 280 mm wingspan) moths exhibiting rich colors and often beautiful patterns. For anyone even remotely familiar with Lepidoptera  , this family needs little in the way of introduction. Adult saturniids have thick, often densely hairy bodies, small heads, and vestigial mouthparts, and do not feed. Larvae usually bear scoli (spiny warts), and some (including Hemileuca  ) can cause skin irritation. Larvae feed primarily on the foliage of trees and shrubs, particularly deciduous families—hence, the diversity seen in eastern North American saturniids is lacking in the northern boreal forests and the primarily coniferous forests in the west. Larvae construct robust cocoons before pupation; empty Hyalophora  cocoons can persist for several seasons attached to stems of the host shrubs.

About half of the world’s 1 200 saturniid species reside in the New World tropics, with about 70 species in Canada and the United States ( Tuskes et al. 1996). Six species have been collected in AB, with a possible seventh species ( Actias luna  ) yet to be confirmed in the boreal forest of eastern AB. Th ree of these species belong to the subfamily Hemileucinae  , and have strictly diurnal adults. Th e remaining three species are in the subfamily Saturniinae  , a group of large, broad-winged nocturnal moths that includes some of the world’s largest insects. Monographs of the North American saturniid fauna include those by Ferguson (1971, 1972a) and Lemaire (1971 – 1974, 1978, 1988). Tuskes et al. (1996) provided an excellent overview of the biology, distribution and identification of the Saturniidae  of the United States and Canada.