Io Moth Caterpillar

Subject: Green Caterpillar on my azalea
Location: Maryland
August 24, 2014 7:37 am
I find this bright green caterpillar on my azalea this morning – 8/24/2014 in Maryland. It looks like it has tiny pine trees growing on it (almost).
Signature: Susan

Io Moth Caterpillar
Io Moth Caterpillar

Dear Susan,
This is the caterpillar of an Io Moth, and azalea is only one of numerous possible host plants for the caterpillar.  According to Featured Creatures:  “The io moth has a long list of host plants, with over 100 recorded plant genera in North America, including such diverse plants as azaleas, blackberry, clover, cotton, current, hackberry, hibiscus, mesquite, palms, rear, redbud, roses and willows. In Florida, io moth larvae are commonly found on oaks and other hardwoods.”  You should handle the Io Caterpillars with extreme caution as the spines can deliver a painful sting.

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