This family is presumably named either after the Roman God Saturn, or else the planet of the same name. Naming the family after the planet makes sense as many species of the adult moths have eye-like markings on the wings, surrounded by concentric rings, like the planet.
The Caterpillars of SATURNIIDAE are generally large, spectacular, and brightly coloured, with soft bristles and sparse tufts of hair over the body. They feed openly in daytime on their foodplants.
The Australian species pupate in hard cocoons, sometimes for more than a year.
The adults are large and dramatic, many having eyespots on the wings. They fly at night.
The 21 named Australian species in SATURNIIDAE are:
Attacus wardi : Ward's Atlas Moth
Austrocaligula eucalypti : Emperor Gum Moth
Austrocaligula helena : Helena Emperor Moth
Austrocaligula loranthi : Mistletoe Emperor Moth
Coscinocera hercules : Hercules Atlas Moth
Opodiphthera astrophela : Emperor Moth
Samia cynthia : Cynthia Moth
Einige Anmerkungen zur Gattung Neodiphthera Fletcher, 1982 stat. rev. mit Beschreibung von vier neuen Arten (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae),
Nachrichten des Entomologischen Vereins Apollo,
N.F. 26 , Parts 1/2 (2005), pp. 17–29.
(updated 4 November 2014, 10 December 2017, 7 July 2019, 20 April 2020)