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Io Moth Catepillar

Automeris io


As the larvae develop, they will lose their orange color and will turn bright green and urticating, having many spines The green caterpillars have two lateral stripes, the upper one being bright red and the lower one being white. When the caterpillars are ready, they spin a flimsy, valveless cocoon made from a dark, coarse silk. Some larvae will crawl to the base of the tree and make their cocoons amongst leaf litter on the ground, while others will use living leaves to wrap their cocoons with. The leaves will turn brown and fall to the ground during autumn, taking the cocoons with them. There they pupate, the pupa being dark brown/black. The pupae of the females are considerably larger than those of the males.


It ranges from the southeast corner of Manitoba and in the southern extremes of Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick in Canada, and in the US it is found from North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, east of those states and down to the southern end of Florida. Females lay small, white ova in the leaves of host plants, including, but not limited to: Prunus pensylvanica — Pin cherry Salix — Willow Abies balsamea — Balsam fir Acer rubrum — Red maple Amorpha fruticosa — Bastard indigo Baptisia tinctoria — Wild indigo Carpinus caroliniana — American hornbeam Celtis laevigata — Texas sugarberry Cephalanthus occidentalis - Button-bush Cercis canadensis — Eastern Redbud Chamaecrista fasciculata — Showy Partridge Pea Comptonia peregrina — Sweetfern Cornus florida — Flowering dogwood Corylus avellana — Common hazel Fagus — Beech Fraxinus — Ash Liquidambar styraciflua - American Sweetgum Quercus - Oak


The spines have a poison that is released with the slightest touch, that cause a lot of pain if touched. This photo was taken on PRIVATE PROPERTY.

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Spotted by

Davie, Florida, USA

Spotted on Mar 18, 2011
Submitted on Mar 18, 2011


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