Buckmoth Caterpillar

Subject: New Otleans caterpillar
Location: New Orleans
May 1, 2016 2:04 pm
We’re walking down a sidewalk in the Garden District of New Orleans and there are tons of these caterpillars falling out of a tree. One got on my friend’s sock and when she pulled it off, she got stung. Any clues what it is?
Signature: Joelle

Buckmoth Caterpillar
Buckmoth Caterpillar

Dear Joelle,
Thanks so much for resubmitting using our standard form.  It really helps us to format postings correctly.  This is a Buck Moth Caterpillar in the genus Hemileuca, and many caterpillars in the genus look similar.  This is most likely
Hemileuca maia, a species found in much of eastern North America.  According to BugGuide:  “Caution, caterpillars can inflict painful sting.”  Since they were falling from the trees, they are most likely getting ready to pupate.  Adult Buck Moths emerge and fly in the autumn.

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