Creepy Looking Hickory Horned Devil Popping up in the South
They look like something you would see in a science fiction horror movie but the creepy crawly things are turning up in trees and backyards throughout much of the South including some parts of eastern Texas.
They are called the Hickory Horned Devil, they are the largest caterpillar in the United States and they are the larvae of the regal moth, scientific name Citheronia Regalis, according to the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division. The caterpillars are blue-green in color with black-looking scales however some colors may vary and the length and size are normally up to 7 inches long.
The moth-type species can be found mostly in hickory trees from mid-summer until late fall where they feed off the hickory, walnut, sycamore, sweet gum, and persimmon trees. You may spot one crawling down from the trees to pupate in the soil below where they hunker down for the winter as they develop into a moth with wings.
Once the caterpillar becomes a moth its wing span is up to six inches according to an article in Newsweek.
The Hickory Horned Devil may look menacing but they are not dangerous or harmful. The spines are not very sharp and are not poisonous at all.
So, if you see one just know it's rare. Have you spotted one yet?