Imperial moth caterpillar

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My friend, Spencer, gave me an Imperial moth caterpillar (Eacles imperialis). At about two weeks, it reminded me of a little black dragon.

Imperial moth caterpillar-about 2 weeksmoth-caterpillar-about 2 weeksAt about six weeks, it looked very different, was about four inches long, and almost ready to go underground to make a pupa.

Although these caterpillars can feed on a number of trees, including oak and maple, this one ate white pine needles. I was especially intrigued by the way it ate. It did a beautiful back bend as it worked its way to the end of each needle, then proceeded to eat as though it had a yummy licorice stick until there was only a stub.

Imperial moth caterpillar - about 6 weeks I’m now hoping a beautiful 4-6 inch Imperial moth, similar to the one below, will appear next summer.

<h5><big>Imperial Moth-Female<br></big><em>Eacles imperialis #7704</h5></em>
Imperial moth. Photo by Bob Moul

I’m struck by the contrast between the caterpillar and the moth it will become — yet another example of nature’s many surprises.

3 thoughts on “Imperial moth caterpillar”

  1. Wow Betty! Another amazing caterpillar, and what a beautiful moth it eventually becomes, big too!
    More and more i am becoming quite a fan of moths and their caterpillars, and i do so enjoy reading your blogs and viewing the stunning photos of these wonderful creatures. Thank you so much for delighting us once again.

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