Monkey Slug aka Hag Moth

(I’m so glad to finally be back to my blogging. I’ve been under the influence of a computer virus.)

Yes, this is a caterpillar that goes be the name either monkey slug, hag moth or Phobetron pithecium. The first one I saw looked like a small piece of carpet on the leaf. That was in the late 80’s.

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This was the second one I saw, and it was in my yard summer before last. Obviously, they aren’t common … or they’re easily overlooked. The head end is the one with the short “arms.” The arms are deciduous.

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The moth caterpillar molted soon after I found it in late September. There’s disagreement as to whether the caterpillar has stinging hairs or not. I found both opinions in my research.

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I wondered if the bright yellow at the end of the arms was for a diversionary tactic of some sort.

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These caterpillars are found in shrubby fields, woodlands and forests from Quebec to Maine, and south to Florida and Arkansas. The long list of their host  plants includes a long list of trees and woody shrubs.

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10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by my secret love for you on February 19, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Amazing pictures!


  2. What an interesting caterpiller! Never seen any like that before, thanks for sharing Sensei! 😀


  3. Oh my gosh, it looks like something out of Star Trek! (I’m glad you are back to blogging also!!)


  4. I’ve never seen or heard of this insect. What a strange one!


  5. WOW really does look alien or even a computer virus, if they looked like something!

    Serious, sorry to hear about your computer virus illness, they really do suck and are a big annoyance to get rid of and back up & running. Glad you’re back!


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