My son found this caterpillar. It seems to be that of a Cecropia Moth, based on a picture at http://www.johncodygallery.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=614.
It was found munching on scrub oak here in northern New Mexico. It wasn’t until after I handled it that I realized I shouldn’t have….
Los Alamos, New Mexico
When we first received a photo of a Cecrops Eyed Silkmoth Caterpillar, Automeris cecrops pamina, it took us quite a bit of time to locate one of the few caterpillar images posted at that time to verify identification. We thought it must be in the genus Automeris since it resembled the Io Moth Caterpillar, another stinging species. The Cecrops Eyed Silkmoth Caterpillar looks like a stinger as well, and your letter implies as much. The Cecropia Moth, Hyalophora cecropia, is a different species. We found images of the adult Cecrops Eyed Silkmoth as well as the caterpillar on this site.
Mistaken ID on your website Inbox Ferguson, Dave J. Tue, Sep 2, 2008 at 1:43 PM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Reply |Reply to all |Forward |Print |Delete |Show original Thought you might want to know this. You have a photo on your website, identified as Automeris cecrops pamina …. This is going to actually be Automeris zephyria, which is nearly identical (probably a regional subspecies of A. cecrops), and which has larvae that are pretty much identical. It is common this year (2008) right now (September 2) as half to nearly mature larvae on the Oaks from Jemez Springs to Los Alamos (at least) in northern New Mexico. To be honest, there are very few photos available of larvae of either species, and you got it really close. Best wishes,
David J. Ferguson
Rio Grande Botanic Garden