Io Moth (Automeris io)

Order: Lepidoptera (le-pid-OP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Saturniidae (sa-tur-NEE-ih-dee) (Info)
Genus: Automeris
Species: io


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Deer, Arkansas
Lavaca, Arkansas
Brooksville, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (2 reports)
Jacksonville, Florida (4 reports)
Lutz, Florida
Naples, Florida
Venice, Florida
Milford, Michigan
Cole Camp, Missouri
Washington, New Hampshire
Argyle, New York
Bowling Green, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania
Crossville, Tennessee
Ellendale, Tennessee
Houston, Texas
League City, Texas
Show all

Members' Notes:


On Jun 21, 2012, floridabunnie from Cape Coral, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

I found these munching on my hisbiscus and my Rangoon Creeper this week. Not knowing, I accidentally brushed my hand past it - yes it does sting. After some research, discovered that this was the IO Moth. I have seen extremely large moths in our front foyer, but this is the first time I have seen the cats in my garden. Based on the number of cats I saw, I should have a healthy number of these moths this year.


On Nov 12, 2011, PAgirl60 from Tobyhanna, PA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Really not knowing much about this moth, I can only say that I found it very beautiful in appearance.


On May 21, 2011, steadycam3 from Houston Heights, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Found about half dozen late instar cats devouring one of my young redbud plants today. First time Ive ever found this cat in my garden. We have had extreme drought conditions for the past 9 months. Dont know if this influenced their appearance in my garden for the first time. I would like to see the moth for Ive never seen one other than in photos.


On Sep 22, 2008, ladybarber101 from Lancaster, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

We found these on our baby live oak tree this week (middle of september). They are very neat looking but definately dont touch them as they will sting. There are about 25 of them and will eat all the leaves and leave the branches off the trees if they are small..


On Feb 22, 2007, Cambium from Lamar, AR (Zone 7b) wrote:

We found these cats on our Hibiscus. They did some damage but never anything that couldn't recover. I figured the bushes need a good trimming every year anyhow so trimming back to keep a nice bushy appearance was timely.

Yes, those spines can sting. I barely brushed one & my knuckle tingled for quite a while afterward.

These caterpillars make a web-like cocoon, not pretty at all. Not only finding their beige, webbed cocoon on nearby items such as blocks, but I've found them on the bush where they used a leaf to wrap the outer part of their cocoon. I've also found them just at the surface of soil with the webbing covered with debris.


On Jan 18, 2007, DiOhio from Corning, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

WARNING: The spines on this caterpillar inflict a painful sting followed by swelling. With that said, this is a really beautiful moth with very interesting larvae.

Larvae are gregarious in early instars, then become solitary. While gregarious, they form a long train to move from leaf to leaf or to a different branch.

Their host plants include birches, clover, corn, elms, maples, oaks, willows, redbud, and many other plants.

The Io can have up to 4 generations in southern Florida and Texas but only 1 generation in the north.