Adult Emperor Gum Moth, Opodiphthera eucalypti
Last Updated: 3 August 2011
The species does not occur in the US, although it has become naturalised in New Zealand. It could very well establish in North and South America given the presence of eucalypts (the normal larval host) in both continents. The species also feeds on peppercorn tree Schinus molle which is not native to Australia, but is grown as an ornamental and shade tree here, so there is also scope for it to move onto non-Australian hosts elsewhere. Saturniidae are popular with collectors, and there is a trade in pupae and eggs of these moths, although it would probably be illegal to import emperor gum moth into the US.
There are a number of North American species which superficially resemble the emperor gum moth, so it would be a good idea to check the local field guides. There are a number of published field guides and web resources which cover the family Saturniidae for North America - a search on the web should bring these up.
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