Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Saturnia pyri
(giant emperor moth)



Saturnia pyri (giant emperor moth)


  • Last modified
  • 16 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Saturnia pyri
  • Preferred Common Name
  • giant emperor moth
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta

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Full-grown larva of S. pyri from Austria. The brown flush denotes the onset of pre-pupation coloration; this is not present in actively feeding larvae, which are apple green.
CaptionFull-grown larva of S. pyri from Austria. The brown flush denotes the onset of pre-pupation coloration; this is not present in actively feeding larvae, which are apple green.
Copyright©A.R. Pittaway
Full-grown larva of S. pyri from Austria. The brown flush denotes the onset of pre-pupation coloration; this is not present in actively feeding larvae, which are apple green.
LarvaFull-grown larva of S. pyri from Austria. The brown flush denotes the onset of pre-pupation coloration; this is not present in actively feeding larvae, which are apple green.©A.R. Pittaway
Adult male of S. pyri from Vienna, Austria.
TitleAdult male
CaptionAdult male of S. pyri from Vienna, Austria.
Copyright©A.R. Pittaway
Adult male of S. pyri from Vienna, Austria.
Adult maleAdult male of S. pyri from Vienna, Austria.©A.R. Pittaway


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Saturnia pyri ([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)

Preferred Common Name

  • giant emperor moth

Other Scientific Names

  • Bombyx pyri [Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775

International Common Names

  • English: giant silkworm moth; great peacock moth; large emperor moth; silkworm moth, giant; Viennese emperor
  • Spanish: gran pavón; gran pavón de noche
  • French: bombyx du poirier; grand, paon, de nuit; grand-paon
  • Russian: pavlinoglazka grushevaya

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Birnspinner; Grosses Nachtpfauenauge; Nachtpfauenauge, Grosses; Nachtpfauenauge, Wiener; Wiener Nachtpfauenauge
  • Hungary: éjjeli nagy pávaszem; nagy pávazsem
  • Italy: grande pavone di notte

EPPO code

  • SATUPY (Saturnia pyri)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Lepidoptera
  •                         Family: Saturniidae
  •                             Genus: Saturnia
  •                                 Species: Saturnia pyri

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


ArmeniaPresentde and Freina Witt, 1987
AzerbaijanPresentNässig, 1981
Georgia (Republic of)PresentNässig, 1981
IranWidespreadNässig, 1981
IraqPresentWiltshire, 1957; Nässig, 1981
IsraelRestricted distributionNässig, 1981
LebanonRestricted distributionNässig, 1981; Talhouk, 1997
SyriaRestricted distributionNässig, 1981
TurkeyWidespreadStaudinger, 1879; de Freina, 1979; Nässig, 1981


AlgeriaRestricted distributionNässig, 1981; de and Freina Witt, 1987
MoroccoRestricted distributionRougeot and Viette, 1978; Nässig, 1981


AustriaRestricted distributionPittaway, 1976; de and Freina Witt, 1987
BulgariaPresentNässig, 1981
CyprusPresentNässig, 1981
Czech RepublicPresentKomárek and Tykac, 1952
FrancePresentHerbulot, 1971; Rougeot, 1971; Sauer, 1986
-CorsicaPresentNässig, 1981
GermanyRestricted distributionHeinemann, 1859; Bergmann, 1953; Forster and Wohlfahrt, 1960; Sauer, 1986
HungaryPresentKovács, 1953
ItalyWidespreadNässig, 1981
-SardiniaPresentNässig, 1981
LuxembourgPresentde and Freina Witt, 1987
NetherlandsPresentVos et al., 2008
PortugalPresentNässig, 1981; de and Freina Witt, 1987
RomaniaPresentPopescu-Gorj, 1964
Russian FederationRestricted distributionEversmann, 1844; Nässig, 1981; Savkovskii, 1981
SlovakiaPresentHruby, 1964
SpainWidespreadNässig, 1981; Maso i Planas, 1988
SwedenPresentLindeborg, 2007
SwitzerlandPresentHeinemann, 1859; Vorbrodt and Müller-Rutz, 1911
UkrainePresentEfetov and Budashkin, 1990

Habitat List

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Growth Stages

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List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Leaves / external feeding

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Bacillus thuringiensis
Compsilura concinnata Parasite Larvae
Exorista grandis Parasite Larvae
Masicera pavoniae Parasite Larvae
Masicera sphingivora Parasite Larvae
Pteromalus communis Parasite Pupae
Winthemia rufiventris Parasite Larvae


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Bergmann A, 1953. The Macrolepidoptera of Central Germany Vol. 3. Bombycids and sphingids. Jena, Germany: Urania Verlag.

Bertucci BM, 1983. Two minor pests of Pomaceae. Informatore Fitopatologico, 33(12):15-17

Deml R; Dettner K, 1993. Biogenic amines and phenolics characterize the defensive secretion of saturniid caterpillars (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae): a comparative study. Journal of Comparative Physiology. B, Biochemical, Systemic and Environmental Physiology, 163(2):123-132

Deml R; Dettner K, 1995. Effects of emperor moth larval secretions, hemolymph, and components on microorganisms and predators. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 76(3):287-293

Döring E, 1955. Zur Morphologie der Schnetterlingseier. Berlin, Germany: Akademie-Verlag.

Efetov KA; Budashkin YuI, 1990. Macrolepidoptera of the Crimea. Simferopol, Russia: Tauria, 110 pp.

Eversmann E, 1844. Lepidopteran Fauna of the Volga-Urals Region. Kasani, Russia: Typis Universitatis.

Forster W; Wohlfahrt TA, 1960. The Lepidoptera of Central Europe. Vol. 3. Stuttgart, Germany: Franckh'sche Verlagshandlung.

Freina JJ de, 1979. Contribution to the systematic knowledge of the bombycid and sphingid fauna of Asia Minor. Atalanta, Würzburg, 10:175-224.

Freina JJ de; Witt TJ, 1987. The Bombycids and Sphingids of the Western Palaearctic. Vol. 1. Munich, Germany: Edition Forschung und Wissenschaft Verlag.

Gardiner BOC, 1982. A Silkmoth Rearer's Handbook. 3rd edn. Hanworth, UK: The Amateur Entomologists' Society.

Heinemann H von, 1859. The Lepidoptera of Germany and Switzerland Vol. 1. Braunschweig, Germany.

Herbulot C, 1971. Atlas des Lépidoptères de France, Belgique, Suisse, Italie du Nord. II Hétérocères. Paris, France: Boubeé.

Hruby K, 1964. Prodromus Lepidopter Slovenska. Bratislava, Slovakia.

Komárek O; Tykac J, 1952. Atlas Mótylu. Prague, Czechoslovakia: Melantrich.

Kovács L, 1953. The Macrolepidoptera of Hungary and their distribution. Folia Entomologica Hungarica, 6:77-164.

Lindeborg M, 2007. Remarkable records of Macrolepidoptera in Sweden 2005. (Intressanta fynd av storfjärilar (Macrolepidoptera) i Sverige 2006.) Entomologisk Tidskrift, 128(1/2):19-32.

Maso i Planas A, 1988. Morphology of larvae. Resumenes, I Jornada Iberica de Lepidopterologia, Madrid, 19 Noviembre 1988, Madrid, Spain. Sociedad Hispano-Luso-Americana de Lepidopterologia (SHILAP), 54

NSssig W, 1981. A contribution to the understanding of the Saturniidae and Brahmaeidae of Iran and Turkey (Lepidoptera) - Part 2: Saturniidae. Nachrichten des Entomologischen Vereins Apollo (NF), 2(1):1-39.

Pittaway AR, 1976. Great peacocks. Bulletin of the Amateur Entomological Society, 35:142-144.

Pittaway AR, 1998. Saturniidae of the western palaearctic. World Wide Web site at

Popescu-Gorj A, 1964. Catalogue of the Lepidoptera collection of "Prof. A. Ostrogovich" in the Natural History Museum "Grigore Antipa" Bucarest. Bucarest, Romania: Musée d'Histoire Naturelle "Gr. Antipa".

Rougeot P-C, 1971. The Bombycoids (Lepidoptera-Bombycoidea) of Europe and the Mediterranean Basin Vol. 1, Lemoniidae, Bombycidae, Brahmaeidae, Attacidae, Endromididae. Paris, France: Masson et Cie.

Rougeot P-C; Viette P, 1978. Guide to the Moths of Europe and North Africa. Heterocera (Partim). Paris, France: Delachaux et Niestlé.

Sauer F, 1986. Identifying Native Moths via Colour Photos. 4th edn. Karlsfeld, Germany: Fauna Verlag.

Savkovskii PP, 1981. The pear saturniid. Zashchita Rastenii, No. 10:62

Staudinger O, 1879. The lepidopteran fauna of Asia Minor. Horae Societatis Entomologicae Rossicae, 14:176-482.

Talhouk AM, 1997. Insects' Role in the Environment; Diversity of Moths in Lebanon. Beirut, Lebanon: The Fares Foundation.

Talhouk AS, 1977. Contributions to the knowledge of almond pests in East Mediterranean countries. V. The fruit-feeding insects, Eurytoma amygdali End., and Anarsia lineatella Z. Zeitschrift für Angewandte Entomologie, 83(2):145-154

Vorbrodt K; Müller-Rutz J, 1911. Die Schmetterlinge der Schweiz. [The Lepidoptera of Switzerland.] Vol. 1. Bern, Switzerland: K. J. Wyss Verlag.

Vos Rde; Ellis W; Groenendijk D; Post F; Zwier J, 2008. Overview of interesting macro-Lepidoptera including migrating Lepidoptera recorded in the years 2002-2005. (Overzicht van in 2002-2005 waar-genomen interessante macro-vlinders, inclusief de trekvlinders (Lepidoptera).) Entomologische Berichten, 68(5):158-169.

Wiltshire EP, 1957. The Lepidoptera of Iraq. London, UK: Nicholas Kaye Limited.

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