The wingspan ranges from 40–50 millimetres (1.6–2.0 in). The wing color varies from black to olive brown. The body is a metallic blue green. The head is yellow orange, with feathery antennae. The caterpillar (about 20–25 mm) has multiple tufts of white and yellow hair. It undergoes metamorphosis in May–August.
It is endemic to eastern North America, from Newfoundland south to Virginia. According to the University of Alberta, there has been a westward expansion in the last 60 years as it has reached the Canadian Rockies and is now found in all Canadian provinces.