Pine forests, particularly ponderosa pines
Western United States and far-northern Mexico
Generally secure, although potentially rare on the fringes of its range
This species is
to the Truckee Meadows.
Pandora moths are large, heavy-bodied moths with 3 to 4 inch wingspans. Their main wings are brown or gray and their secondary wings are a grayish-pink; all wings have a black dot and dark, wavy line. The pupae of these moths are about an inch long, hard-shelled, and a dark, purplish-brown, and the larvae are between 2 and 3 inches long and are brown to a yellowish-green.
Pandora moths have a two year life cycle with moths emerging in late July and eggs being laid within a few days of hatching.
Pandora moth eggs are bluish green-gray and are laid in globular clusters from 2-50 eggs. The eggs take around 40 days to develop.
Pandora moth larvae are cold and hardy, eating needles during the daytime in the winter months. The larvae will crawl down trees in late June where they pupate underground for around 12-13 months. Larvae can cause extreme defoliation in the areas they populate.
The larvae of pandora moths were harvested and eaten as a protein source by the Paiute tribe of the Owens Valley in eastern California.
Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology, Harvesting Pandora Moth Larvae with the Owens Valley Paiute, 1985, https://escholarship.org/content/qt9m01d3p2/qt9m01d3p2.pdf
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