Home / Saturniidae Moth (Saturniidae) / Japanese Silk Moth (Antheraea yamamai)

Japanese Silk Moth (Antheraea yamamai)

The Japanese silk moth is a saturniid moth, primarily known for producing white, hard, and elastic silk in Japan.  This silk is nowadays considered rare and expensive. Though endemic to the eastern parts of Asia, their population has spread to Europe for the production of tussar silk.

Japanese Silk Moth

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Scientific Classification


  • Family: Saturniidae
  • Genus: Antheraea
  • Scientific Name: Antheraea yamamai

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

The caterpillars are green with a brown head.

Japanese Silk Moth Caterpillar

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Pupa

It pupates inside a silk cocoon, maturing into an adult moth after about two weeks.

Japanese Silk Moth Pupa

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Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.

Color and Appearance

Forewing: When the wings are opened, they are a brownish-orange with two eyespots, one on each side. When the wings are closed, one of the two spots remain visible,

Hindwing: When the wings are opened, they have a similar brownish-orange coloration like the forewings, with one spot on each of the sides. When the wings are closed, the patterns can still be observed.

Average wingspan: 110–150 mm

Flight pattern: Consistent

Season: August to September

Antheraea yamamai

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Egg

The eggs are brownish-black.

Japanese Silk Moth Eggs

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Quick Facts

Other namesJapanese oak silkmoth, yamamayuor tensan (Japanese names)
DistributionNative: East Asia, mainly Japan
Invasive: Southeastern Europe, including Austria, the Balkans, and northeastern Italy
HabitatVaried forests
Lifespan of AdultsA few days
Host PlantsPrimarily oak; as well as chestnut, common beech, hawthorn, hornbeam, and rose
Adult DietDoes not feed

Did You Know

  • It has five sub-species – Antheraea yamamaiyamamai, Antheraea yamamaibergmani,Antheraea yamamai titan,Antheraea yamamaiussuriensis, and Antheraea yamamai superba.
  • This species of moth was first described by French entomologist Félix Édouard Guérin-Méneville in 1861.
Japanese Oak Silk Moth

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Japanese Silk Moth Picture

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