Found a REAL caterpillar--but what kind and what to do?

annainok(7b)July 16, 2010

In the vein of "Even a blind squirrel gathers a few nuts", a caterpillar came inside my garage and up to my kitchen door so that I could find it.

It's pretty big, about 3" long, and moving slowly. I'm wondering what species it is, then I can figure out what host plant it needs.



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I did some searching and I'm thinking it may be Hypercompe scribonia

What do y'all think?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 3:29PM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

Well I know nothing so take my opinion lightly but I think you are right, it looks very much like the picture in "Caterpillars of Eastern North America".

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 8:05PM
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Yes, it is a great leopard moth (Hypercombe scribonia). The red bands show when curled up and advertise that it is full of PAs (pyrrolizidine alkaloids), a toxic substance. Your guy is probably getting ready to pupate. Typically they overwinter, so I don't know if yours is just hanging out or what. It may be a first brood, with a second overwintering. I find them hard to raise, as they pupate in the leaf litter, but someone else on the board my have some advice.
Good luck,

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 8:15PM
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I got it some willow leaves, as that was about the only thing I have in the yard that was on the list of host plants, and it was sort of active for a while. Then it left behind a large piece of frass and is now rather quiet. I can give it leaf litter (I don't have everything raked up even into July.) Normally we don't have cold weather for several more months--November, typically--so I'm wondering if it's really set to overwinter?


    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 9:18PM
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runmede(7a Virginia)

I fed a Great Leopard Moth Common Plantain once. I kept the Plantain a live inside. The moth ended up using its spines to make a cocoon. It did winter over and I did get to see the adult stage.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 9:59PM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

Went down to the West Jefferson, Ohio McDonalds last Wednesday night. My son caught a giant leopard moth. I love the blue on their wings and body.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 12:40AM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Wow kc...PRETTY moth!!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 10:46AM
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