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 20 named Australian species in SATURNIIDAE are:
Coscinocera hercules : Hercules Moth
Opodiphthera astrophela : Emperor Moth
Opodiphthera eucalypti : Emperor Gum Moth
Opodiphthera helena : Helena Gum Moth
Opodiphthera loranthi : Mistletoe Emperor Moth
Samia cynthia : Cynthia Moth
(updated 4 November 2014, 10 December 2017)