Location: Black Canyon City, AZ
March 9, 2011 7:24 pm
My sons & I have found this caterpillar (we have named him Cowboy) but we are having a hard time identifying it. we offered him celery stalks w/ the leaves, red cabbage & a cholla cactus (spines removed) but he wants none of it. I noticed he sleeps all day & comes to life @ night. we have had him since yesterday afternoon & we don’t want him to starve to death & if we can not figure out what he likes to eat we will need to release him. we have him in a bug box on a self in the living-room (not in direct sun light). we enjoy watching the life cycle of caterpillars & have enjoyed inchworms that turned in to geometrid moths in the past.
We have been trying to provide an identification for you in vain. The closest we can come is that your caterpillar shares many similar characteristics with the Asp or Puss Caterpillar, the larva of the Southern Flannel Moth, Megalopyge opercularis, which you can see on BugGuide. The Asp is a stinging caterpillar and it should be handled with care. Though there are similarities, we do not believe that is the correct identification. Perhaps one of our readers will write in with a correct identification. When caterpillars are collected, they are generally found feeding upon plants and those are the plants that should be offered for food.
Thank you so much! You guys are great! I found him curled up under a Cholla cactus it was still daylight but he looked dead. I have tried a few leaves from almost every thing in my yard, he does not like any of it. I am going to let him go where I found him. I can say he had the nicest hairdo I have ever seen on a caterpillar! I will keep an eye out & see if some1 on your forum knows what cowboy is . I will also keep an eye out to see if I see cowboy in our yard on a plant eating it (so if we ever find another cowboy we will know what he eats).
Thanks for every thing!!
Update: January 3, 2016
We just received a comment that this is a Clio Tiger Moth caterpillar image. According to BugGuide: “Larvae feed on milkweed (Asclepias, Asclepiadaceae) and dogbane (Apocynum, Apocynaceae). Behr reported them on spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium).”