The Dagger Moth Cat, continued

I was apparently wrong about the instar. My little cat changed its appearance overnight – the fuzzy outer coat has been shed, and you can now see the row of little black spines down its back.

This made me a little worried, because the Lady Banks Rose is not one of its known larval food plants. A little more research made me think it might have accidentally gotten onto the rose bush from the tree next to it, which probably IS one of its larval food plants.

Since caterpillars eat more in the later instars (some are downright piggy) I decided to put it on that tree. But when I went back out, it had completely disappeared. So in the space of those few minutes, it fell, trucked along at lightning speed, or got eaten. Mother Nature in action.

American Dagger Moth caterpillar after shedding

American Dagger Moth caterpillar after shedding

Shed Outer Fuzz

Shed Outer Fuzz left behind


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A New Caterpillar!

I was very excited this morning to find a mystery visitor on the Lady Banks Rose next my deck. I had never seen a caterpillar like this before!

American Dagger Moth Caterpillar

American Dagger Moth Caterpillar

I knew from the fuzziness that it is most likely a moth, and a quick google search on “fuzzy yellow caterpillar” revealed that it is in fact an American Dagger Moth. Judging from its size, it is in the last instar. Judging by where I found it, it is on walkabout looking for a place to make its cocoon.

If it does make a cocoon, I’ll post more about it. In the north, this moth usually over-winters before eclosing, but here in the south sometimes they come out in the fall.

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