Insect of the Week: Hickory Horned Devil

Adapted from page 78 of Garden Insects of North America:

The Hickory Horned Devil is a caterpillar of bizarre appearance that may be 5 inches long. Generally blue green, it has numerous spikes, particularly two long curving pairs on the thorax, giving it a rather dragonlike appearance.

The Hickory Horned Devil (Citheronia regalis), photographed here as a young larva. Photo credit: David Shetlar.

It is found in much of the eastern U.S., being more common in the southern states. Hickory, walnut, and a few other trees and shrubs may host the caterpillars. When feeding is completed, the larvae descend trees and walk about in search of soil in which to pupate. Adults are large moths with prominent orange markings and stripes known as Regal Moths.

Head to our Instagram to see what these caterpillars look like once they complete their transformation into adult moths.

Garden Insects of North America: The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs
Second Edition
By Whitney Cranshaw & David Shetlar

This second edition of Garden Insects of North America solidifies its place as the most comprehensive guide to the common insects, mites, and other “bugs” found in the backyards and gardens of the United States and Canada. Featuring 3,300 full-color photos and concise, detailed text, this fully revised book covers the hundreds of species of insects and mites associated with fruits and vegetables, shade trees and shrubs, flowers and ornamental plants, and turfgrass—from aphids and bumble bees to leafhoppers and mealybugs to woollybears and yellowjacket wasps—and much more. This new edition also provides a greatly expanded treatment of common pollinators and flower visitors, the natural enemies of garden pests, and the earthworms, insects, and other arthropods that help with decomposing plant matter in the garden.

Designed to help you easily identify what you find in the garden, the book is organized by where insects are most likely to be seen—on leaves, shoots, flowers, roots, or soil. Photos are included throughout the book, next to detailed descriptions of the insects and their associated plants.

An indispensable guide to the natural microcosm in our backyards, Garden Insects of North Americacontinues to be the definitive resource for amateur gardeners, insect lovers, and professional entomologists.

  • Revised and expanded edition covers most of the insects, mites, and other “bugs” one may find in yards or gardens in the United States and Canada—all in one handy volume
  • Features more than 3,300 full-color photos, more than twice the illustrations of the first edition
  • Concise, informative text organized to help you easily identify insects and the plant injuries that they may cause


This post is part of a series, explore additional posts here<< Insect of the Week: the Snowy Tree CricketInsect of the Week: the Buffalo Treehopper >>