What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

big neon green caterpillar
September 19, 2009
My husband and I found this 3 inch long almost an inch wide big neon green caterpillar eating peacon leaves.What kind of caterpillar is this and what will it turn into..
Barb claremont north carolina…
Claremont,North Carolina foothills.

Polyphemus Caterpillar

Luna Caterpillar

Hi Barb,
This is a Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar.  It will transform in
to a large beautiful moth.

Ed. Note:
Upon receiving a comment that this was a Luna Moth Caterpillar and not a Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar, we are amending our original identification.  The Luna Caterpillar is picture and described on BugGuide as “Larva lime-green with pink spots and weak subspiracular stripe on abdomen. Yellow lines cross the larva’s back near the back end of each segment (compare Polyphemus moth caterpillars, which have yellow lines crossing at spiracles). Anal proleg edged in yellow.(2) Sparse hairs.
”  The Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar is described on BugGuide as:  “Larva: body large, bright green, with red and silvery spots below setae, and oblique yellow lines running through spiracles on abdomen; diagonal streak of black and silver on ninth abdominal segment; head and true legs brown; base of primary setae red, subdorsal and lateral setae have silver shading below; end of prolegs with yellow ring, and tipped in black.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Share →

14 Responses to Luna Moth Caterpillar

  1. ryan says:

    This is a luna moth larva (Actias luna) not a polyphemus. You can tell by the absence of the verticle yellow “stripes” that run through the spiracles of polyphemus larvae, not luna.

  2. Charles Tate says:

    Found one in driveway 11/3/2013. Beautiful!

  3. Bonnie says:

    And I just found one that has yellow spots on its back was about 3 inches long and about an inch round and I’d like to know what it turns into and what it likes to eat I don’t have it in captivity I I put it outside outside yard and I have a garden and I’m curious is if it’s been attracted to do my garden

  4. Janet says:

    I’m in Northern Utah and just watched a scrub jay grab this caterpillar off the lawn and dance around with it while killing it to eat. Quite a feast!

  5. Laura says:

    I’m curious is this the Luna Moth Caterpillar? I have a picture just not sure how to attach it. If you email me I can send you the picture

  6. Phyllis bush says:

    Have just found one of these caterpillars in my Lilac tree. I believe above comments are from USA. I live in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, England. Is it likely they live in both countries? Do they cause any problems?

    • bugman says:

      The Luna Moth is not found in the UK, unless a breeder accidentally released them into the wild. We suspect you found a Great Peacock Moth caterpillar which is pictured on UK Moths.

  7. Tina Ronders says:

    FOUND a Luna moth caterpillar in my yard today in Jackson, Michigan. 9-21-16 at approximately 6pm

  8. Mary Fisher says:

    I just found one of these beautiful babies today. Except I noticed that mine had 3 small black dots on its so called neck next to its head. Either way it sure was beautiful. 9/17/2017

    Temple, Georgia

  9. val in MO says:

    Last evening I found a HUGE luna moth caterpillar (4-5″ long at least) climbing very slowly up a wooden post near my front door. He/she was beautiful and obviously well-fed. I live in Missouri, and the temperature in the mornings lately has lowered to the low 50’s. I checked on it this morning, and it looks like it’s trying to wedge itself into a space between old wooden beams. I heard this moth is endangered. Hope to see the beautiful Luna (moon) moth emerge in the spring.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *