Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's NOT A Luna!

Oooopsy!  So what we thought was a luna moth caterpillar is not a luna moth caterpillar afterall! (See Luna Moth posting.)

We e-mailed the UBC Zoology Department regarding our discovery of an endangered moth caterpillar. They kindly notified us that "since Luna moths don't occur in Western Canada, I am guessing that the caterpillar you found will turn into a Polyphemus moth (Antheraea polyphemus)".

Poly whaaaat?!?!

SO, we looked up this poly guy and as you can see from the photo, it looks exactly like a luna moth caterpillar!!!  How on earth do you tell them apart you may ask? According to one website, "Luna moth caterpillars superficially resemble those of the polyphemus mothAntheraea polyphemus (Cramer), but differ because they have vertical yellow lines on each segment rather than single horizontal lines along each side of the body."  Who knew?

As much as the two caterpillars look alike, the moths they turn into most certainly do NOT look alike.  

Though sadly we didn't spot an endangered species, we've certainly learnt lots about moths!


  1. This is how we learn from our mistakes
    It still looks creepy though
    Nanny & Papa

  2. Cool, I I think we found the same kind of caterpillar. We have him in a fishbowl with netting over it and he already spun his cocoon. Did yours in fact turn into the Polyphemus moth as expected? How long did it take?

  3. Hi Jake! We didn't actually take the caterpillar home, we left it where we found it. In July we took a couple of brown ones home and it took almost a month for the moths to come out after they'd cocooned. Check out the "Caterpillar" posting in July!