Subject: Saturniid butterfly in Brazil
Geographic location of the bug: Brazil, Santa Catarina, Benedito Novo
Time: 11:43 AM EDT
Hello, I found this caterpillar and I have no clue what it is. At first it seemed like an Automeris, then a Pseudautomeris, then a Molippa… Now I don’t know what it is.
How you want your letter signed: Oscar Neto
Though they both belong to the same insect order Lepidoptera, most English speaking countries differentiate between butterflies which are primarily diurnal, and moths which are primarily, but not exclusively nocturnal. There are also structural differences between them that is clarified in the taxonomic process. We agree that this caterpillar belongs to the moth family Saturniidae, and it also appears to be an earlier instar caterpillar. Many online images are of more mature caterpillars that sometimes differ in appearance from earlier stages. Our initial guess would also be the genus Automeris, and our second guess would be Leucanella, and both genera are well represented in Brazil. We will attempt to get Bill Oehlke, an expert in Saturniids, to attempt to provide you with a species identification. By chance, was if found feeding on a plant? Often knowing the food plant is a great assistance in the identification process.