The female's wings are purplish red with ochre-yellow. They have thin scales and are almost transparent. The male's wings are purplish brown with a large transparent space in the middle. The female is larger than the male. The wing span is 4.2 to 6.6 centimeters.
The males attract females by buzzing like a bee. Mating occurs during the morning. It is a rapid process. The male and female stay together for the rest of the day and then the female finds a place to lay eggs, usually under oak leaves.
The caterpillars are gray or greenish with dull brownish yellow or rosy stripes. There are scales on each segment and two long spines on the mesothorax. The caterpillars pupate for a short time. They feed on the foliage of oak trees, maples, birches, and hazels. The caterpillar overwinters in the soil as a pupa. Caterpillars that are newly hatched or are in the middle of growing feed in groups while those that are mature or nearly so feed separately. The caterpillar is about an eighth of an inch long. The head is large in proportion to the body. The inside of the mouth is yellow. The legs are semi-translucent.
Life cycle gallery
Larvae feeding on Quercus texana
- Tuskes, Paul M.; P. Tuttle, James; Collins, Michael M. (1996). The wild silk moths of North America: a natural history of the Saturniidae of the United States and Canada. Cornell University Press. p. 250.
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- M. Tuskes, Paul; P. Tuttle, James; M. Collins, Michael (1996). The wild silk moths of North America: a natural history of the Saturniidae of the United States and Canada. Cornell University Press. pp. 74–75. ISBN 978-0-8014-3130-2.
- "Pink-striped oakworm moth Anisota virginiensis (Drury, 1773)". Butterflies and Moths of North America. Retrieved 2010-05-29.
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- Entomological Society of Ontario; Ontario. Dept. of Agriculture; Ontario. Legislative Assembly (1908). Annual report, Volumes 38-41. The Society. p. 74.
- Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station (1914). Bulletin on Forestry, Volume 1, Issues 156-435. p. 32.