Cycnia Inopinatus – larva/pupa/adult, 1 of 2
Location: Naperville, IL
August 22, 2011 12:32 pm
Dear Daniel~
I found this little caterpillar on August 10th, on some asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed). I tentatively ID’ed it as Cycnia Inopinatus, but I’d read that although it might be locally common, overall it is uncommon to rare due to habitat decline. It was certainly the larva of a tiger moth, and its coloration, host plant and region (Great Lakes area) all pointed to the unexpected tiger moth. I placed it in one of my Monarch egg-rearing containers for observation, but before long, and before I could move it, it made its cocoon and pupated on the container’s lid. (Sorry for the red color cast.) It eclosed this morning, and sure enough, it’s a beautiful little cycnia inopinatus, similar in its adult stage to the delicate cycnia moth (cycnia tenera) that you have on your site, but whose larvae are quite different. The photos of the adult are in a separate submission, and I’ve included a side view so that you can see its orange, speckled abdom en. All the best to you!
Signature: Dori Eldridge

Unexpected Cycnia Caterpillar

Cycnia Inopinatus – larva/pupa/adult, 2 of 2
Location: Naperville, IL
August 22, 2011 12:40 pm
Dear Daniel~
Here are the three adult photos of the cycnia inopinatus (unexpected tiger moth) that eclosed this morning. The second photo shows his (?) antennae, which were previously tucked under the body. It flew away before I could get a better side view! Best regards,
Signature: Dori Eldridge

Unexpected Cycnia Cocoon

Hi Dori,
Thank you so much for providing our website with such a thorough documentation of the metamorphosis of the Unexpected Cycnia, Cycnia inopinatus, a new species of Tiger Moth for our website.  We are most intrigued with the number of creatures that depend upon milkweed for survival.  Readers who want additional information can see the postings for this species on BugGuide.

Unexpected Cycnia Moth

Ed. Note:  July 11, 2014
More information on the Unexpected Cycnia can be found on this blog:


Location: Illinois

6 Responses to Unexpected Cycnia: Metamorphosis of a Tiger Moth

  1. Is it typical of woolly bear pupae to have that sparse hair-like cocoon? I saw something stuck to the inside of one of our umbrellas that looked awfully similar. Hopefully I can get some decent pictures of it tomorrow.

    • bugman says:

      Woolly Bear Caterpillars shed their hairs and incorporate the hairs in the spinning of the cocoons. It is often possible to see the pupa through a thinly spun cocoon.

  2. I am currently writing a blog on this species if you need more information.

  3. Stephanie Anderson says:

    Oh I apologize! I thought I put the link on here.

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