Sunday, August 21, 2016

big day for Sophia

Friday was a big day for Sophia. It was her first day of school. That's life-changing. AND she acquired the oddest creature she had ever seen. It was a buggy beast straight out of Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are

Photo by Shirley Andrews
But what was it?

Her grandmother and my dear friend Linda knew where to get the answer. 

What "Soph" had in her possession on her big big day was the biggest, boldest caterpillar in North America, as long as a hot dog without the relish. A spiky flamboyant thing loaded with color and panache...a hickory horned devil that will pupate, dramatically rearrange every fiber of its being and emerge from its underground earthen chamber as a beautiful royal walnut moth, a.k.a. regal moth (Citheronia regalis). 

Does it get odder than this?

As a caterpillar it eats hickory, persimmon and walnut leaves, as an adult it dazzles with its six-inch wingspan beauty. 

Congratulations, Sophia.

Thank you too, Mom Karen.  

Hickory horned devil
Regal moth


Robin Barrow Nichols said...

Is it safe to hold? It looks like it would be poisonous.

Stephen Lyn Bales said...

They are a bit spiky, but even their thorns are soft. You just have to be gentle with them so that you do not hurt or drop the big guys. They look scary for a reason, to go unmolested. The saddleback caterpillar is a different story. Their spikes will sting you.

Patty Ford said...

Great post, Lyn! We had a packsaddle catepillar at SISBP a few weeks ago, and it was beautiful -- but we all kept our distance!