Spiny oak slug
There is one generation a year in the most of the northern parts of its range, with caterpillars seen from late June to October (Wagner, 2005). Two generations or more from Missouri south.
Eggs are laid singly or in small clusters on leaves (Wagner, 2005).
The larva is flattened and ovoid in outline, with spiny tubercules along the back and sides. These are mildly stinging. The sides have craters ringed with black or white along them. In the final instar they usually have two to four sets of black hairs at the tail end, that can fall off, called 'caltrop' spines after the Roman defensive weapons. Colourful, but the colours vary enormously (Wagner, 2005). Like all limacodids, the legs are shortened and the prolegs are reduced to suction cups. Maximum length, 20 mm (Wagner, 2005).
Pupates in a cup-shaped cocoon with a circular escape hatch.
The small (1 cm) moth is 'hairy' and brown, with green patches on the upper wing. The underwing is a paler grey-brown.
Eats a variety of deciduous trees and shrubs, not limited to: apple, ash, basswood, beech, birch, blueberry, cherry, chestnut, hackberry, hickory, maple, oak, poplar, sycamore and willow (Wagner, 2005).
- Wagner, DL, 2005. Caterpillars of Eastern North America. Princeton University Press.