Hickory Horned Devil: Early Instar

Large spiny caterpillar with horns?
We found this in our back yard and were unable to find it in any of our guide books. Then we searched online and found nothing. Can you tell us what it is? More curious about what it is going to be?? Thanks so much Sincerely
the Braun family in Fredericksburg Virginia

Hi Braun Family,
This is an early instar of the Hickory Horned Devil. What it will be after a few more molts is North America’s largest and quite possibly most impressive caterpillar. It will become a bright blue-green behemoth with red horns that resembles a Chinese dragon. The adult moth is also quite striking. It is known as the Royal Walnut Moth or Regal Moth, Citheronia regalis.

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