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The Basics:

  • Does it sting? No, even though it looks really fierce.

  • What does it eat? Walnut, oak, persimmon, and hickory.

  • Will it seriously damage plants or trees? Not usually.

  • Is it rare? Common in the southern states.

  • What does it turn into? A huge, beautiful moth -- in terms of mass, it's the biggest in North America.

  • Can you raise it to an adult? Yes, although it pupates in soil (no cocoon).

Hickory Horned Devil

When I was a boy, I always hoped to find one of these amazing creatures munching on the leaves of the hickory trees in our neighborhood. I never did, though -- they are not all that common, and live mostly in the South. My bad luck to live in the North! The hickory horned devil is likely the largest, and certainly the fiercest-looking, caterpillar in North America. Full-grown, they are nearly half a foot long, and will rear up and make a clicking sound if you bother them. They're totally harmless, though, like pretty much all caterpillars.

The hickory horned devil turns into the regal moth, a gigantic, beautiful animal that most people will never see in nature.

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Citheronia regalis

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