Their large size and bright colors make the Giant Silkworm Moths popular with collectors and photographers alike. Adding to this interest is the sexual dimorphism of many species, with the sexes varying as to color, markings, size, and/or antennal type.
The Giant Silkworm Moths are densely clothed in hairs, giving them a furry appearance. In constrast, the larvae are fleshy, with occasional bristles. In at least two genera (Automeris and Hemileuca) the bristles are stinging. All but a few species feed as larvae on deciduous trees and shrubs. Members of most subfamilies use their silk glands to construct sturdy pupae, but the Royal Moths (subfamily Ceratocampinae) pupate in the ground in an earthen cell (Covell, 2005).
Despite the family's common name, this group does not include the species actually used in silk production; the commercial species is Bombyx mori and is in the family Bombycidae.
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