Moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera) have sex chromosome systems with female heterogamety (WZ/ZZ or derived variants). The maternally inherited W chromosome is known to determine female sex in the silkworm, Bombyx mori. However, little is known about the role of W chromosome in other lepidopteran species. Here we describe two forms of the W chromosome, W and neo-W, that are transmitted to both sexes in offspring of hybrids from reciprocal crosses between subspecies of wild silkmoths, Samia cynthia. We performed crosses between S. c. pryeri (2n=28, WZ/ZZ) and S. c. walkeri (2n=26, neo-Wneo-Z/neo-Zneo-Z) and examined fitness and sex chromosome constitution in their hybrids. The F1 hybrids of both reciprocal crosses had reduced fertility. Fluorescence in situ hybridization revealed not only the expected sex chromosome constitutions in the backcross and F2 hybrids of both sexes but also females without the W (or neo-W) chromosome and males carrying the W (or neo-W) chromosome. Furthermore, crosses between the F2 hybrids revealed no association between the presence or absence of W (or neo-W) chromosome and variations in the hatchability of their eggs. Our results clearly suggest that the W (or neo-W) chromosome of S. cynthia ssp. plays no role in sex determination and reproduction, and thus does not contribute to the formation of reproductive barriers between different subspecies.