There are many moths (see the moth intro page). And therefore many moths out there as larval animals. Virtually all are vegetarians. And they are often strict in the plants they choose. Some are quite stunning. Thankfully the new Wagner Caterpillar book is out and we can all learn more from it. If I have a picture of the moth, I will put the caterpillar shots adjacent to the moth shots on the moth pages. Most will not have moth shots. This is a Datana species and probably Datana major. This species eats most of the Azalea group except for the Blueberries. This genus is notable for lifting the head and tail end when in threat position as shown here. When really ticked off they will secrete a drop of clear fluid.

This is one of the Datana species. There are apparently several confusing species. If I had to guess I would say this is close to D. ministra. All of the species have this rolled and dark headed look.

This is another Datana species. Almost certainly D. ministra. So it may go with the above moth. From Cheryl's camera.

This cat was dropped by an Ammophila wasp who was busily dragging it down a rocky hillside. She had already paralyzed this cat so it was an easy camera subject. Always a fascinating event anyway. After I photographed the caterpillar I eventually had to hand it back over to the wasp. Who went on her way again. This is the Variable Oakleaf Caterpillar, Lochmaeus manteo. See Wagner for the impressive variability. Similar to the cat of Lochmaeus bilineata. Wagner's photos tend to favor the former in this. L. manteo eats Beech, Chestnut and Oak. Apparently very common though I had never seen one until this wasp dropped hers.

And this is the moth for the cat above. Came to lights on Round Mountain. It is #7998 in the Hodges list.

And though perhaps I should put it on the Underwing pages, Catocala, I will stay with the cat format. Likely a C. ilia cat, sheltering on a Blackjack Oak trunk and this is one of the forms that is a superb lichen mimic. Wagner mentions them on the ilia page. He also says this is one of the most abundant Underwings in the East.

This is a lovely caterpillar that was making its way over the sand path at Toadsuck beach. Don't know what it was eating. And it may have been trying for a pupation spot. Assuming this is the big last instar. From Wagner it appears to be very closely related to the Gonodonta species. But Wagner's pictured G. nutrix does not occur here. See Hodges # 8539-8541. Species remains a mystery for now. These are closely related to the Catocala species.

I got a note from Linda Williams (thank you) in Missouri in 2017. She had also had trouble identifying it but David Wagner was apparently getting closer. She found more in Missouri and raised them. And they were proven to be Tarache delecta. A moth with the excellent name of Delightful Bird-dropping Moth. When I looked at those pages I found my bugguide submitted photo from 12 years ago was already moved over with its moth shots there. Apparently the only moth in its group that eats Mallow or Hibiscus species. Someone ID'd it in 2015!

A tussock moth species no doubt and this may be in the genus Halysodota. Several species in the area and the cats can be variable from creams to browns. May have trichomes or stingers on these species.

A Milkweed Tussock moth species Euchaetes egle. Competes with Monarchs for milkweed plants, though Wagner says these will take older leaves than the Monarch cats.

The well named Unicorn Caterpillar. The moth is in the Prominent group and far less remarkable than this camouflage genius. Genus is Schizura and there are several cats that are close but not this distinctive.

The Woolly Bear or Black-tipped Woolly Bear, which turns into the Isabella Tiger Moth, Pyrrharctia isabella, is likely one of the most recognizable cats out there. It even wanders in late summer and fall, crossing roadways and back roads looking for God-Knows-What since it eats all kind of plant fodder. Old timers thought they could predict the winter severity from the amount of orange in these wanderers in fall. But actually the orange expands with each molt until the bitter moth pupal end so go figure.  

The toxic surfaced flannel moth caterpillar. Probably Megalopyge [Lagoa] crispata, the Black-waved Flannel Caterpillar. Eats quite a few woody plants. Can cause a reaction if touched or if the castings or fur is inhaled.

The adult Flannel moth, same species. Hodges #4644. I think the wing sheddings could cause similar problems if handled. Quite a bit paler forewing than M. opercularis.

The Geometridae in our forests are pervasive. The moths are often dull and boring, to, you know, us amateur afficionados. The caterpillars however can be striking and are often much easier to identify. This one was invading my Buckeye crop in April on Round Mountain. Apparently a boom and bust species. This appears to be Erannis tiliaria. It eats many hardwood species and woody shrubs. Also known as the the Lime Tree Looper or Linden Looper.

The big genus Acronicta are known for the markings in the wings of the moths that look like little daggers. The cats are often hairy or spiny or both. This is Acronicta longa, the Long-winged Dagger Moth. Feeds on several woody plants and trees including oak and cherry as well as blackberry.

These guys were tracking head to tail across my front yard. These are Io Moth cats. Automeris io. They have a potent stinging nettle sting which lasts quite a bit longer than the nettle. They eat a variety of plants, many woody. The moth is a lovely eyed moth on the hindwing with yellows and reds. Cats up to 2 1/2 inches. And varied from green to these yellowish guys.

These cluster loving cats are Symmerista canicosta, the Red-humped Oakworm. They feed on oaks, beech and chestnut. Often feed togther in mass until the last instar. The Orange-humped Oakworm, S. leucitys is similar but found on maples.