Saturniidae moth caterpillar


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The family Saturniidae, commonly known as saturniids, by most measures include the largest species of moths. They are a family of Lepidoptera, with an estimated 2,300 described species worldwide. The Saturniidae include such Lepidoptera as the giant silkmoths, royal moths and emperor moths.

Adults are characterized by large size, heavy bodies covered in hair-like scales, lobed wings, reduced mouthparts, and small heads. They lack a frenulum but the hind wings overlap the forewings, producing the same effect of an unbroken wing surface. These moths are sometimes brightly colored and often have translucent eyespots or “windows” on their wings. Sexual dimorphism varies by species, but males can generally be distinguished by their larger, broader antennae. Most adults possess wing spans between 1 and 6 in (2.5 and 15 cm), but some tropical species, such as the Atlas moth (Attacus atlas), may have wing spans up to 12 in (30 cm). Together with certain Noctuidae (chiefly Calpinae andCatocalinae, such as the genera Ascalapha, Erebus, or Thysania), the Saturniidae contain the largest Lepidoptera, and some of the largest insects alive today. source

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