Strange Caterpillar ID

Asked August 28, 2016, 11:21 AM EDT

Found this large green caterpillar with one yellow rear horn and false eyes in back and 4 black/yellow/red horns in front with tiny black spots over it. A diligent Google search turned up no matches - it was in a Tulip Tree.

Haywood County North Carolina

3 Responses

Thank you for your question. The caterpillar in your photo is the tulip-tree moth (Callosamia angulifera). It is similar to the Promethea Moth caterpillar (Callosamia promethea), but it is paler, lacks paler rings around the black dots on the abdomen and it has a pale stripe running below the spiracles on segments A1 - A10.

The tulip-tree moth is found in woodlands and forests from Michigan, southern Ontario and Massachusetts to northern Florida and Mississippi. We can have two broods here in the South, and mature caterpillars start showing up in June.

Caterpillars feed primarily on the tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera).

An excellent reference for caterpillars for butterflies and moths is:

Wagner, David L. (2005). Princeton Field Guides: Caterpillars of Eastern North America. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Hope this answers your question, and thank you for using Ask an Expert.


Thank you Jim.

You're welcome. Contact us any time.