Entomology (Study of Bugs)/caterpiller

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Question
Neon caterpiller
Neon caterpiller  
Hi, I came across this caterpiller in my yard.  I have never seen anything like this before. It was neon green with bright blue dots and what looked like 2 sets of eyes. It was about 6 inches long.  I live in Cape Cod, Massachusetts near the ocean. Do you know what kind of bug this is?  I have attached a picture of it.  He was really cute!
Thanks,

Sally Metro

Answer
Sally:

This is a Cecropia Moth caterpillar.  These moths are part of the giant silkworm moth family.  The adults are very large and very beautiful.  As caterpillars, they feed on hickory, walnut and pecan leaves, among others.

At 6", this one is full grown and ready to spin a cocoon this fall to be an adult next year.  

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Nathan Riggs

Expertise

I currently live in San Antonio, TX and have expertise in identifying insects, many types of spiders, and other arthropod critters that infest lawns, ornamentals, structures, trees, pets and livestock. Mites are not a strong point of mine. I'm not a licensed doctor, so I cannot provide medical diagnosis of conditions possibly related to insects or other arthropods. If you've got an interesting photo for me to see, attach it to your question, or let me know and I'll give you my email so the picture will get to me. If you have hosted an insect photo on a website, please include the link so I can go look at it and provide a faster ID for you. You may also join my group page on Facebook and post your picture at www.facebook.com/groups/antmans.hill/.

Experience

22+ years' experience as an entomologist: 5 years as a biologist with Merck Animal Health (I was part of the R&D team that worked to develop FrontLine flea and tick products) and 7 years as an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Specialist in San Antonio, Texas with Texas Cooperative Extension.

Publications
Veterinary Parasitology, Southwestern Entomologist, San Antonio Express News, San Antonio Gardener Newsletter, Master Gardener SCION Newsletter, GardenStyleSA e-Newsletter

Education/Credentials
BS - Entomology from Texas A&M University in 1992.

Board Certified Entomologist, 1996-2000 - Medical and Veterinary Entomology Specialty (Entomological Society of America)

Awards and Honors
2000 Texas A&M University Vice Chancellor's Award in Excellence for leadership on the Texas Fire Ant Program Educational Team.

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