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

    Reply

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

    Reply

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

    Reply

  4. 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!

    Reply

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