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Ilia Underwing Caterpillar

Catocala ilia


This caterpillar looks just like lichen! It doesn't move much. When I checked on it two hours later, it was exactly where I left it. Nestled in a rill in the bark, it was hidden in plain sight. When I touched its back, it quickly flipped its head backwards, as if to bite. Has red spots on underside. Very cool little critter.


Suburban yard, on trunk of dead oak tree.


Note on Bug Guide suggests this might be an unusual color morph: "Per Wagner (2005), most caterpillars are gray and essentially bark-colored, but very occasionally spectacular lichen mimics are encountered." (

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Mandy Hollman
Mandy Hollman 5 years ago

Wow, thank you!!! :)

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

LaurenZarate 5 years ago

Fantastic larva! Great camouflage.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 5 years ago

Wow fantastic spotting. Looks exactly like a foliose lichen.

Sachin Zaveri
Sachin Zaveri 9 years ago

Nice one,

Mandy Hollman
Mandy Hollman 9 years ago

It eats oak, just mimics lichen. Stick insect is cool!

MartinL 9 years ago

Cool spotting and its good to have the ID. I wonder if it eats lichen. I wonder if it is nocturnal and never moves diurnally. Other insects have lichen forms such as this stick insect.

Mandy Hollman
Spotted by
Mandy Hollman

Georgia, USA

Spotted on Mar 22, 2012
Submitted on Mar 23, 2012

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