Subject: Possible Stinging Caterpillar?
Location: Southwestern Shaanxi Province, China
September 12, 2013 1:55 am
I came across this caterpillar on the footpath of the gardens outside our apartment block when I was walking my dogs. I didn’t touch it directly as it looked like it had stinging bristles but I encouraged it onto a leaf and put it onto a bush so it wouldn’t get trodden on (or sting one of my dogs if they saw it and gave it a sniff).
Except for the colouration, it looks superficially similar to the zephyr-eyed silk moth caterpillar pictured on your site so I was wondering if it could possibly be a different kind of silk moth caterpillar?
Signature: Paul UK
We agree that this is most likely a stinging Caterpillar, and it is probably in the family Saturniidae which includes the Zephyr-Eyed Silkmoth, however that species has a very limited range in New Mexico and vicinity and the genus it belongs to is strictly new world. This also looks similar to some Nymphalidae or Brush-Footed Butterfly Caterpillars which includes the Mourning Cloak Caterpillar, but our gut instinct is still a Saturniidae Caterpillar.