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The Basics:

  • Does it sting? No, but the fur may be irritating.

  • What does it eat? Milkweeds.

  • Will it seriously damage plants or trees? Not usually, although it will eat a fair amount.

  • Is it rare? No.

  • What does it turn into? A very plain gray moth.

  • Can you raise it to an adult? Not easily, since they occur in large groups and need lots of fresh milkweed.

Milkweed Tiger Moth

This cool-looking little guy is the larval stage of the tiger moth Euchaetes egle. There are relatively few Lepidoptera species that feed on milkweed, which has poisonous sap that may make the caterpillars themselves poisonous to birds. Like the monarch, milkweed tiger moth caterpillars eat nothing but milkweed and spend all of their time on the plant, living and moving in small groups of up to ten. They're not at all hard to find on the host plant -- their bright coloring is thought to be a kind of warning to predators not to even bother eating them.

For such a showy caterpillar, the adult milkweed tiger moth is pretty plain -- unmarked, light gray wings with a spotted abdomen.

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Euchaetes eagle

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