Subject: Can you ID this caterpillar?
Location: California, MD
July 21, 2014 1:25 pm
The best I can guess is that it’s a type of brush footed butterfly larva. I’d love to know what type of adult it will become and what it feeds on. The kids would like to hatch it and then release it.
Signature: Laura in SoMD
While many Brushfooted Butterfly Caterpillars have spines, including the Mourning Cloak Caterpillar, this is actually the caterpillar of a Buck Moth, and considering your location, it is most likely Hemileuca maia, based on this BugGuide image. Handle the Buck Moth Caterpillar with care as contact with the spines may result in a painful sting. The adult Buck Moth, which gets its name because it is usually on the wing very late in the fall during deer hunting season, is a lovely moth. By the way, we were unaware that there were any cities named California.
Thank you for the helpful ID. Since you mentioned it, California is just south of Hollywood, MD.