Mean looking caterpillar
Greetings Bugman,
I live in Tallahassee, FL and I recently found these very agressive caterpillars all over a bush in my front yard. If you prod them with something, they arch their back and lunge at whatever touches them, while simultanously regurgitating some green goop and smearing it on whatever touches them. They have 3 sets of segmented front legs which appear to have stingers protruding slightly from them, but I can’t really tell. A couple of days after I discovered them, they had all but disappeared leaving my bush in seriously bad shape. I was fortunate to have received a new digital camera just in time to get some great macro shots of the last one I could find. I’m curous to know what it is and if it can sting. If it can’t sting, it sure can put on a good bluff!
Here’s the best shot I was able to get with my macro on a tripod….love my Nikon Coolpix 4500 macro for these types of shots!!

Hi Brett,
We didn’t have to research this Prominent Moth Caterpillar for too long before we located the Azalea Caterpillar, Datana major on this Florida website. The defense posture you describe as well as depict in your awesome photograph is typical of the entire Datana genus.

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