Subject: Unidentified caterpillar
Location: West Virginia
April 25, 2015 3:51 am
This photo is a year or two old. It was an aggressive caterpillar that raised sex black horns when the branch he was on moved, so I’d call it defensive or aggressive.
Though your image is quite blurry, the shape of this caterpillar is quite distinctive. We are guessing it was quite small and probably found in late spring. We believe this is a Hickory Horned Devil hatchling, Citheronia regalis, and you can compare your image to this image on BugGuide. Most submissions that we receive of Hickory Horned Devils arrive toward the end of summer and they are of mature caterpillars that leave the trees they are feeding upon in search of an appropriate location to dig and pupate. Hickory Horned Devils are the largest North American caterpillars, and despite a fierce appearance, they are perfectly harmless. Eventually a Hickory Horned Devil will metamorphose into the gorgeous Royal Walnut Moth or Regal Moth.