Currently viewing the category: "Hickory Horned Devil"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is This Thing from Narnia
Location: Raleigh, NC
August 31, 2013 8:42 am
We found this bug just crawling around near our house in the grass. It looks like it could be some type of catepillar but it’s HUGE. Help?!
Signature: Freaked Out Dude

Hickory Horned Devil

Hickory Horned Devil

Dear Freaked Out Dude,
Your photo of a Hickory Horned Devil is awesome.  This is the largest caterpillar in North America.  It feeds on the leaves of hickory, walnut and several other native trees.  The caterpillars are rarely noticed until late in the summer when they leave the trees they are feeding upon and find a suitable place on the ground to dig and pupate.  In the spring, they emerge as adult Royal Walnut Moths.  Some of our readers have compared Hickory Horned Devils to colorful Chinese dragons.  They are perfectly harmless, despite the fearsome appearance.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this a Hickory Horned Devil?
Location: Covington County South Alabama
August 27, 2013 10:43 am
My girlfriend and I return home after church this pass Sunday August 25, 2013 to find this impressive and intimidating caterpillar waiting to great us sitting on our front porch, it stayed and visited until Monday night some time and guess it then departed on its way to burrow in the ground, I do have large hickory nut trees in my yard and didn’t know if this could be the Hickory Horned Devil, I have never seen one of these in all my years, but it did place my mind into a state of awe and shock. I live in Covington County Alabama close to the Florida state line right out of the city of Andalusia, Al. Any help on identifying this magnificent creature would be appreciated and thanks before hand for your time and effort if you get to this.
Signature: Joey Russ

Pine Devil

Pine Devil

Hi Joey,
Your caterpillar resembles a Hickory Horned Devil because it is a close relative in the same genus, a Pine Devil,
Citheronia sepulcralis.  You can compare your image to this photo on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on several species of pine (Pinus), including Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida), Eastern White Pine (P. strobus), and Caribbean Pine (P. caribaea).  Adults do not feed.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Angry Caterpillar/Worm
Location: Middletown, MD
August 26, 2013 6:33 am
Good morning!
My aunt took a picture of this caterpillar that she was attempting to rescue from the middle of a mid-Maryland road. Apparently it became quite aggressive, whipping around and shooting ”gunk” out of its sides. It’s hard to tell size from the pic, but she said it was as long as her hand from longest finger to wrist (and she has long hands). It also had horns all over its body. She said it was similar to the tomato eating caterpillars, but much larger and much more active/aggressive.
Signature: Thank you!! – chadrenne

Hickory Horned Devil

Hickory Horned Devil

Dear Chadrenne,
We always look forward to the first Hickory Horned Devil images of the year with mixed feelings as it is a signal of the end of summer.  The Hickory Horned Devil is likely the largest North American caterpillar, and despite its fearsome appearance and its aggressive behavior, it is perfectly harmless.  People have written comparing Hickory Horned Devils to Chinese dragons in the past, and that is a very understandable comparison.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: green worm with horns
Location: Douglasville GA
September 26, 2012 3:49 pm
What looks like a big caterpillar with horns
Signature: normal

Hickory Horned Devil

Dear normal,
This spectacularly impressive caterpillar is a Hickory Horned Devil.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: millipede in Princeton, NJ
Location: Princeton, NJ
September 17, 2012 9:41 am
Dear WTB – can you please tell me what type of millipede this is? I found him while on a bike ride in Princeton, NJ this past weekend. He was about 6 inches long and almost an inch thick! Thanks you!
Signature: Briana DeSanto

Hickory Horned Devil

Hi Briana,
This is not a millipede.  It is a Hickory Horned Devil, the largest North American caterpillar, and arguably the most distinctive North American caterpillar as well.  Despite a fierce appearance, it is perfectly harmless.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this bug?
Location: Marietta, GA
September 6, 2012 2:46 pm
This bug was found where my husband works in Marietta, GA. He took the picture today (Sept 6th) and they work in an industrial park near a small lake, trees, pine straw, etc. We have no idea what it is, can you help?!?
Signature: Ashley F.

Prepupal Hickory Horned Devil

Hi Ashley,
This caterpillar is commonly called a Hickory Horned Devil, and its shape has been altered because it is prepupal, meaning it is about to transform into a pupa.  It appears to be on a hard surface, indicating it was unable to find a place to dig prior to pupation, which is the typical progression of events.  Hickory Horned Devils have been compared to Chinese Dragons by our readers.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination