Subject: caterpillar
Location: south louisiana
July 10, 2015 12:38 pm
what is the name of a black & white caterpillar that has a red head and red feet
Signature: valentine

Azalea Caterpillars

Azalea Caterpillars

Dear Valentine,
These gregarious caterpillars are Azalea Caterpillars,
Datana major, and according to Bugguide:  “larvae feed mainly on leaves of azalea (Rhododendron spp.) but have also been recorded on apple, blueberry, Red Oak, and Bog Rosemary (Andromeda polifoloa).”  The Blue Jay Barrens blog has a very nice posting on the Azalea Caterpillar which includes this information:  “The hairs on this caterpillar serve no defensive purpose.  When threatened, the caterpillar raises its head and tail with thoracic legs thrust upward like horns.  In addition to the threatening appearance, a bit of ingested material is regurgitated at the mouth and a droplet of liquid is released from the anus.  I’m assuming that both of these substances are unappealing in some way to predators.  The anal droplet is visible in the photo as a honey colored sphere on the end of the upraised tail.  Quite an interesting little creature.”

Location: Louisiana

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