The Basics:

  • Does it sting? No, although the spines can give you a poke

  • What does it eat? Low plants like plantain

  • Will it seriously damage plants or trees? No

  • Is it rare? Generally scarce, but can be common at times

  • What does it turn into? A gorgeous black and white moth

  • Can you raise it to an adult? Like the woolly bear, these caterpillars overwinter as larvae, so they're hard to raise into adults. 

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Giant Leopard Moth

This caterpillar is sometimes found in the fall, when it leaves its foodplant and goes off in search of a place to hibernate. In the spring, the grown caterpillar will spin a cocoon and hatch out in the early summer. It’s easily identified by the bright crimson bands that show only when it’s rolled up to defend itself. The spines that the species has are very stiff and very sharp, making it hard to for a predator to get a grip. The adult moth is very beautiful, and can be found sometimes at lights at night.

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