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Larva: body hump-backed, olive green or brown with pinkish-white saddle and two short dark spiny horns on second thoracic segment; conspicuous "ankle bracelets" of pale spines above each proleg; dorsal spine clusters atop bumps on thorax and abdomen. The caterpillars sequester the salicylic acid in their bodies, which makes them bitter, and upsets predators' stomachs. As further protection, the caterpillars, as well as their chrysalis stage, resemble bird droppings.
Northwest Territories south along the eastern edges of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountains to central Mexico, and throughout eastern North America except Newfoundland. Moist open or shrubby areas such as lake and swamp edges, wet meadows, willow thickets, and roadsides. Larvae feed mainly on leaves of willow (Salix) and poplar and cottonwood (Populus); other hosts include apple (Malus) and cherry (Prunus).
Spotted on the handrail of a boardwalk near the North Wallenda Tower at Tallulah Gorge State Park
Spotted on Apr 13, 2013
Submitted on Apr 16, 2013