The period (per) gene of Drosophila plays an important role in circadian clock function. Interestingly, homologs of per have not been cloned outside of dipteran species. Using a PCR strategy, we now report the cloning of the cDNA of a per homolog from the silkmoth Antheraea pernyi. The cDNA encodes a protein of 849 amino acids, which shows highest identity (39%) with the per protein of Drosophila virilis. Stretches of high identity between moth and fly proteins are in the amino terminus, the PAS region, and the region surrounding the site of the pers mutation in Drosophila. Moth per homolog mRNA levels exhibit a prominent circadian variation in adult heads, and per protein antibodies show a pronounced variation of per antigen staining in photoreceptor nuclei. With sequence information derived from moth and flies, per-like cDNA fragments were readily cloned by PCR from other moth species and a third insect order.