Lappet Moth Caterpillar, possibly Tolype

Subject: Unknown Caterpillar
Location: Independence MO (KCMO area)
July 3, 2015 6:52 pm
My family and I found this guy on our hosta plant leaf tonight (July 3rd). I’ve spent all night searching the internet looking for WHAT kind of caterpillar it is and have found nothing even similar! Can you please help?!?
Signature: Joey Phillips

Possibly Tolype Caterpillar
Possibly Tolype Caterpillar

Dear Joey,
This is a Lappet Moth Caterpillar in the family Lasiocampidae, probably in the subfamily Macromphaliinae, and possibly a Large Tolype,
Tolype vellada, based on this image posted to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on leaves of a variety of broadleaf trees and shrubs. Wagner lists ‘apple, ash, aspen, basswood, beech, birch, cherry, oak and other woody plants.'”  Do any of those trees grow near your Hosta?  Hosta is not a host plant and we believe the caterpillar might have fallen from the tree or that it might be searching for an ideal location to commence pupation.

Lappet Moth Caterpillar
Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Thank you so much for your timely response! Very interesting, although I was hoping we had discovered something here! One of our giant ash trees hang over the hosta plants, so that would explain where he may have fallen from. I have not been able to locate him this morning. Please feel free to post, as I was unable to find ANYTHING similar during my wide internet search. Is it in a certain ‘stage’ perhaps?

This looks like a large individual, and as we mentioned earlier, it may be looking for a location to pupate.

Lappet Moth Caterpillar may be Large Tolype
Lappet Moth Caterpillar may be Large Tolype

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