Saddleback Caterpillar - Acharia stimulea
I was SO excited to find this caterpillar in my mother's garden this weekend!
The caterpillars have a truncated, slug-like body that is not typical of other lepidopterans. The prolegs are concealed under the ventral surface of the body. They have aposematic coloring with dark brown anterior and posterior ends with a contrasting bright green pattern blanketing the dorsal midsection.
It is a medically significant insect due to the presence of venomous, urticating spines and hairs! These hairs/spines secrete an irritating venom that causes a painful, swollen rash and nausea in humans.
Habitat: Spotted in a rural, backyard garden.
The saddleback caterpillar, ''Acharia stimulea'' , is the larva of a species of moth native to eastern North America. The species belongs to the family of slug caterpillars, Limacodidae.
The caterpillar is primarily green with brown at either end and a prominent white-ringed brown dot in the center which resembles a saddle. It has a pair of fleshy horns at either end. These and most of the rest of the body bear urticating hairs that secrete an irritating venom. Contact with the hairs.. more