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Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar

The Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar is surprisingly safe to touch despite the menacing clusters of spiky black hairs all over it.


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Image Credit: Tim G., taken in PA
Full-sized image of the Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar Thumbnail image of the Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar
Image Credit: Joe V. from Arkansas.
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Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf- Bowen
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Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Erebidae
Genus: Hypercompe
Species: scribonia

Caterpillar Details

Other Names:
Giant Woollybear Caterpillar

The Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar becomes the Giant Leopard Moth or Eyed Tiger Moth.

1.1 " to 2.9 " (30mm to 75mm)

black, spiky, harmless, safe, bristle, cluster, hairs, red bands on body, orange yellow bands, black head, curl
Image Credit: Cody B. from Houston, TX
Image of giant-leopard-moth.jpg
Adult Form (Giant Leopard Moth or Eyed Tiger Moth)
View More at www.ButterflyIdentification.org
A flourish of black spiky hairs on this caterpillar do not sting, so it can be safely handled. Each spray of spikes grow from small, dark red bumps that ring each segment. The caterpillar curls up when disturbed, revealing bright red bands on its black body. Younger caterpillars have more expansive red or orange areas on their bodies.

Host plants are varied, but leaves are always on the menu. The adult moth is called the Giant Leopard Moth thanks to its white wings and multiple black rings and black spots covering it. It is a large moth and conspicuous thanks to its pattern. ©CaterpillarIdentification.org

Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar Diet

willow; maple; magnolia; cherry; lemon; orange; banana; pokeweed; sunflower; violets; cabbage; dandelion; plantain

Territorial Areas

Alabama; Arkansas; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Ontario; Quebec
Prince Edward Is.  
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The map above showcases (in blue) the states and territories of North America where the Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.*NOTE: States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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