The Siberian silk moth is a polyphagous on conifers. Within its native range, the Siberian silk moth attacks around 20 species in the following genera: Pinus, Abies, Larix, Picea, and Tsuga. This is a low number of known hosts for a polyphagous insect, but the number is deceptive because the Siberian silk moth is considered capable of developing on almost all coniferous species that are found within its range. Indeed, initial laboratory investigations in the U.S. indicate that Douglas fir would be a highly preferred host. In Russia, the Siberian silk moth is thought to exist in two host races, one preferring fir, and the other preferring larch.
The Siberian silk moth has the potential to disrupt entire forest ecosystems, including many areas that are labeled ecologically sensitive for a variety of reasons ranging from presence of endangered species to health of riparian systems. Its potential for defoliation has to be considered at least comparable to that of the gypsy moth in deciduous forests, but its environmental impact would likely be much more severe. First, the insect would encounter a forest with relatively few natural enemies (this perhaps could be "corrected" somewhat over time through biological control efforts). Moreover, though, the consequences of defoliation (e.g., reduction of vigor and/or mortality) are typically much more severe for evergreen conifers than for hardwoods. Given its ability to kill entire forests, the Siberian silk moth could potentially be devastating to timber industries. Tourism and related industries could also suffer severe consequences.
The Siberian silk moth is not known to occur in Indiana.