Saddleback Caterpillars have stinging spines that reinforce the wisdom in not touching something that looks so strange and spiky.
The Saddleback Caterpillar is covered in short hairs that sting when touched, meant to deter predators from trying to eat it. These same hairs can sometimes leave a rash on a poking person, too. It is a member of the Slug Caterpillar Moth family and has suckers underneath the body in place of some legs. This allows it to defy gravity and walk along the underside of leaves and branches when feeding. This species is not a picky eater and feeds on a variety grasses, trees, and shrubs.
This highly unusual caterpillar becomes a dark brown moth and less conspicuous as an adult. The when wings are opened flat, you can see that the moth has a small white spot on its forewings near its body, and two or three white spots near the tips of the wings. The summer season is its most active time of year.
Scientific Name: Acharia stimulea
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 26mm to 46mm (1.01in to 1.79in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.