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Monday, September 07, 2009

Monster caterpillar

I went bike camping with a few folks (instigated by Nils) up the C&O Canal for one night of the long weekend. We were lucky with the rain, which started as we were just about ready to turn in for the night, and held off today until after we were back in DC. Of note was the group at a neighboring campsite: a two girls, ages 8 and 11, camping with their grandfather, spent the day riding their bikes to DC, seeing the sites, and riding back to the campground. That's a total of about 45 miles, which is pretty impressive for an 8-year-old (or an 11-year-old, for that matter). They were from Pittsburgh, and when I mentioned that I'm planning to bike to Pittsburgh, the younger one said "Our daddy biked to Washington, but he says we have to wait until we're older." Heh.

The thing I really wanted to talk about, though, is the monster caterpillar we saw on the ride home:

A shot for scale comparison:

It was about 5 inches long! More than twice as large as any other caterpillar I've seen...watching it move was kinda creepy. So, what on earth does it turn into?


Alex Starace said...

Mothera! It must be Mothera's spawn!

teague said...

Mothra was mentioned.

But my mother seems to have figured it out:

I think I ID'ed your larva...It's a Hickory Horned Devil which turns into a Royal Walnut Moth. See these photos and info:


Since that woman's caterpillar was also about 5 inches long, I guess that's normal size. Yikes!