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Old 07-11-2011, 03:06 PM   #1
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Default I don't know where to start ...

These photo's were taken by a friend this past weekend. The critter is on a young cottonwood tree. It's about 4 inches long. I have no idea what it is, and would very much appreciate an ID. It looks like a fascinating creature.

(There were no reports of space ships or other UFO activity in the area. )
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Old 07-11-2011, 03:12 PM   #2
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I'm not sure that it is the same thing, but you and Bulu sure do now how to find the odd ones! Oh boy is this one a cutie!
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Old 07-11-2011, 03:30 PM   #3
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If my cutie mated with an aardvark, we'd end up with this'n!
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:41 PM   #4
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if my cutie mated with an aardvark, we'd end up with this'n!
lol!
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:59 PM   #5
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That cat must use cottonwood for it's host with that great camouflage pattern. I'd start with the Sphinx Moth Family just going by the size. A good place to start is Butterflies and Moths of North America but they don't always show the cat.
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Old 07-12-2011, 12:17 AM   #6
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That cat must use cottonwood for it's host with that great camouflage pattern. I'd start with the Sphinx Moth Family just going by the size. A good place to start is Butterflies and Moths of North America but they don't always show the cat.
I couldn't find any similar caterpillars among the Sphinx Moth's. But while I was checking through those I came across some other possibilities - the Underwings (Catocala species). So far though, I haven't been able to get the host plant (cottonwood), location (Northern WI) and photo to match up.
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:11 AM   #7
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I drove over to the site of the caterpillar this afternoon and I was able to get some more photo's.
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Old 07-12-2011, 09:16 AM   #8
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I drove over to the site of the caterpillar this afternoon and I was able to get some more photo's.
This caterpillar indeed is in the genus Catocala (Lepidoptera: Erebidae); it appears to be Catocala amatrix, known as the sweetheart underwing - see Catocala amatrix for details. These moths formerly were placed in the family Noctuidae.
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Old 07-12-2011, 03:39 PM   #9
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This caterpillar indeed is in the genus Catocala (Lepidoptera: Erebidae); it appears to be Catocala amatrix, known as the sweetheart underwing - see Catocala amatrix for details. These moths formerly were placed in the family Noctuidae.
Thank you Suunto. That ID and the link put all the pieces together very nicely.
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Old 07-12-2011, 04:08 PM   #10
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Wow! Great photos--it really is an unusual looking thing. I swear I saw it posted here last year or something.
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