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moth caterpillar id please !

Posted by alch21 sc (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 20, 12 at 17:21

This caterpillar was brought to me. it was found on the sidewalk at school and does not look too well but i would love to know what it is ! Thanks for the info ! hope he makes it !

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: moth caterpillar id please !

I hope it makes it, too! It's an imperial moth caterpillar, looks to be last instar, so I image it's looking for a place to go and burrow and make its pupa. If you can put some clean dirt - no ants - or leaves in a bucket, then put the caterpillar in it, then cover the bucket with mesh, it'll undoubtedly make its pupa now. Hopefully, you'll get to see the adult butterfly next spring or summer. You could put something for it to attach itself onto if the bucket is plastic and slippery.

Here's a male imperial moth than showed up at my garage light a month or so ago - he was about 5" across -

Image hosted by


RE: moth caterpillar id please !

fantastic picture ! Thanks ! I am looking forward to seeing it in the Spring ! Do you put the pupa outside for the winter ?

RE: moth caterpillar id please !

Yes, I put chrysalides and moth cocoons/pupae outside in winter so that, assuming temperatures influences emergence time, they'll emerge at the right time. I don't use much heat in winter, but my house is still warmer inside than outside, usually. Up north, I imagine it's much warmer inside than out. Of course, you'll need to put the container in a safe place where mice and/or other critters can't get to it.
I notice that there's a black area on the caterpillar, also there's brown liquid around it. I'm hoping that the brown liquid is the purging the cat did before going to pupate and not a leak. If the caterpillar is leaking fluid from its body, it'll die.

Good luck, let's hope everything's okay!


RE: moth caterpillar id please !

If it is outside, it has a better chance of eclosing at the same time as its wild friends. If it is inside, it has a better chance of making it to adult. My latest idea on imperials is to keep it outside but try not to let it freeze. I'm also going to try the "hammock" idea I found earlier this year. A link is at the bottom. I've tried other refrigerator suggestions with mediocre to very poor results. Hopefully, this one works.

Don't count on seeing a moth next year. Quite a few decide to spend 2 winters in their pupa. Don't know why.


Here is a link that might be useful: CARE OF SATURNIID MOTHS

RE: moth caterpillar id please !

Thanks for the help ! I am happy to report that the little fellow is active and doing well ! Hopefully with the clean dirt and some leaves, he will be pupating soon !

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