John_Lemen at csi.com
Wed Sep 22 12:26:32 EDT 1999
All - found another one of these big boys this year, and kept him this
time. I poked him a bit, and he definitely has bright red intersegmental
grooves, so I guess I have a Leopard Moth. Since I couldn't find a photo
last year, will try and get a couple shots of him before I turn him loose -
any suggestions on how to photograph him (on a ruler to provide a size
reference, or ??) My college major was biology (30 years ago) but I didn't
get into caterpillar photography !
From: John Lemen [COMPUSERVE:73530,317]
Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 1998 11:14 AM
To: '"DR. JAMES ADAMS"'
Cc: 'Doug Yanega'; 'Gary Anweiler'; 'Liz Day'
Subject: RE: BIG Black Caterpillar
Thanks for your reply ! My wife found him on the ground in a flower bed
under a bur oak while doing some fall yard clean-up chores. Unfortunately,
we let the critter crawl off into the pachysandra to get ready for winter,
but while I was observing it, I didn't notice any red color in the grooves.
I found some photos
(http://pooh.unl.edu/~scotth/samantha/leopard/leopard.html) that show that
the groove color would have apparent. I couldn't get any sense of scale
from those photos, but the specimens shown appear to be much smaller than
the one I found. I didn't have much luck finding an index of caterpillar
images on the web - any hints here would be appreciated ! (A trip to the
library might be in order, also.)
Don't listen to anyone saying something about sphinx moths.
Your caterpillar is probably a large nymphalid of some kind, or if it
is really bristly (hairy all over) then it is probably a tiger moth. Where
did you find it? On the ground, on a branch, etc.? Are there any
other distinguishing features (colored patches)? If it is truly
black all over, it is probably the caterpillar of Hypercompe
(Ecpantheria) scribonia, the Leopard Moth. If you still have the
caterpillar, try poking it a little to see if it will curl into a
ball. Then look for the red intersegmental grooves. If both of the
previous statements apply, then you've got a Leopard Moth.
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