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large green caterpillar with orange spikes
Hickory horned devils look fierce but they are essentially harmless to humans. Florida Museum photo by Dale Johnson

A visitor brought this caterpillar to us because they found it and weren’t sure what to do about it. We had one of our scientists check it out, and then we relocated it to an appropriate tree in the woods behind the Museum to complete his caterpillar-moth life cycle.

Citheronia regalis is called a hickory horned devil as a caterpillar, when it feeds on hickory, sweetgum & sumac trees. It pupates in soil and emerges as an adult called a regal moth.

Our scientists frequently fulfill requests from the public for identification of adult butterflies and moths and their caterpillars.

Learn more about Citheronia regalis