Subject: what is this?
Location: Putnam, CT 06260
August 26, 2015 1:20 pm
We found 2 of these caterpillars today (August 26,2015) in Putnam, CT while we were trimming bushes. The crew is very curious what they are as none of us had ever seen anything like it before. Each one was about 5 inches long and they were eating a vine-like weed growing inside a forsythia bush. We found them between 11:00 AM and 1:00PM.
Everyone also wanted to know if they were poisonous. It looks like there are barbs or stingers on the body, guessing for protection?
Thank you do your help! Hope to hear back from you.
Signature: Steve Gallant and The Crew at Eclipse Landscaping
Dear Steve and Crew,
Your impressive caterpillars are Cecropia Moth Caterpillars, and the fleshy protuberances are not barbs or stingers. Cecropia Moth Caterpillars pose no threat to humans. Your large individuals have probably attained maximum growth and they will soon spin a cocoon and molt into a pupa that will overwinter, with the adult Cecropia Moth emerging next spring. We are very curious what vine they were feeding upon, because according to BugGuide: “Larvae feed on leaves of various trees and shrubs including alder, apple, ash, beech, birch, box-elder, cherry, dogwood, elm, gooseberry, maple, plum, poplar, white oak, willow. may also feed on lilac and tamarack.”