What an awesome, detailed photo you have sent to us. Can you confirm this as an Imperial Moth caterpillar? From my reading, it should pupate in the ground or under leaf cover – I am watching it dig in under leaf litter. Can I recover the chrysalis when it’s hard and keep it where I can watch it hatch out? Does it need special conditions to thrive? Love the site – spend ‘way too many hours looking at bugs!
Beth R.
Wimberley, TX

Hi Beth,
What an awesome, detailed photo you have sent to us. You are absolutely correct. This is an Imperial Moth Caterpillar. Probably the best way to keep the pupa for observation is to capture the caterpillar and keep it in a 5 gallon aquarium with several inches of loose, damp earth. The caterpillar will pupate when it is ready. Do not let the earth get too dry, but it is more important that it not get too wet. Mist it about once or twice a week with water. Keep a screen cover over the aquarium so there is air circulation. Keep the aquarium where it won’t freeze since it is not as well protected as if the caterpillar had buried itself in the ground. Do not keep the aquarium indoors as it will be too warm. Good luck.

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