Subject: Very hungry caterpillar
Location: Deltaville, VA (Tidewater)
July 16, 2015 8:38 am
At first we thought this caterpillar was a tomato or tobacco hornworm, but it was too spiky. We found it in an open field, mid-morning on a 75* day in July. The property is on the middle peninsula of Virginia. We’re surrounded by brackish water (Chesapeake bay watershed), but there are many farms (mostly corn) in the area.
Though there is no shortage on our site, we are thrilled to be able to create a new posting of the first Hickory Horned Devil of the year. Each summer we get numerous identification requests for the largest, and arguably most distinctive looking North American caterpillar. Despite its fierce appearance, the Hickory Horned Devil is perfectly harmless. Hickory Horned Devils rarely leave the host trees (hickory, walnut and other trees) where they are feeding on leaves, but this large specimen is getting ready to pupate. It will seek a location with favorable conditions and it will bury itself before metamorphosing into a naked pupa that will pass the winter with the adult Royal Walnut Moth emerging the following year.