Giant Leopard Moth Hypercompe scribonia
My son found this sweetie on walkabout in the garden early in the morning on 29June 05. I'd only had one other like it before, and never got to see it's cocoon because I sent it (and an endless supply of marigold for it to eat) to school with my kids and they raised it in the classroom. When they brought it home it was all ready a moth. We raised this 2nd one at home.
giant leopard moth caterpillar
giant leopard moth
giant leopard moth caterpillar
I finally got it to walk the ruler for a picture! It was much more interested in exploring my desk than being measured once it uncurled from that "don't eat me" pose.
giant leopard moth caterpillar
The coolest thing about these caterpillars is the red color you see when you look at them close up:
Our 2nd Giant Leopard Moth caterpillar was eating this blue flowered weed, Commelina diffusa (Dayflower), so I fed it more until it made a cocoon.

When I weed my garden now, I leave some Dayflower in case another Leopard Moth chooses to lay an egg on it.

It spun a protective web like cover to hide under before it made a cocoon.
Bob Patterson confirmed my ID on this Giant Leopard Moth, and told me its scientific name: Hypercompe scribonia. Thanks Bob!
giant leopard moth caterpillar
giant leopard moth host plant
giant leopard moth caterpillar on host plant
giant leopard moth caterpillar
giant leopard moth
giant leopard moth
giant leopard moth cocoon
giant leopard moth cocoon
giant leopard moth caterpillar
giant leopard moth
giant leopard moth
giant leopard moth caterpillar
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