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moth larvae - Automeris io

moth larvae - Automeris io
near Battleship Rock, Sandoval County, New Mexico, USA
July 21, 2008
Size: approx. 5 mm - 17 mm
Two batches found 7-12-08. One was first instar and one an egg ring when found. Eggs hatched 2-15-08. One batch now appears 3rd instar the other mostly 2nd (some still 1st). Found on and feeding primarily on Salix exigua (have also nibbled on Salix babylonica, S. irrorata, and Prunus serotina).

Sorry the quality isn't better.

Presumed to be Saturniidae? Perhaps Automeris or Hemileuca? I find images of Automeris larvae this young, and they do appear similar. Could be A. io or A. zephyria. The most likely Hemileuca for the region on Salix is H. nevadensis, but larvae seem to be the wrong color and to have hatched too late (?). They are lt. orange with pale longitudinal stripes and spines on first two instars grayish to blackish, or on a few creamy yellow. On third instar they are white and black or gray. Am I way off here?

Images of this individual: tag all
moth egg - Automeris io moth larvae - Automeris io moth larvae - Automeris io moth larvae - Automeris io

Moved from Io Moth.

Moved from Automeris.

These are Automeris. There are four species of Automeris in New Mexico and two are known to feed on Salix sp. The two species are A. io neomexicana (this is New Mexico's representative of A. io) and A. zephyria. These two species are also found in your part of New Mexico. I'm not sure if A. io neomeixicana larvae have been found in nature though. But from larvae photos ive seen from captive females, these appear much more like A. io neomexicana than A. zephyria.

I've seen enough more images now to be fairly sure they are Automeris (probably io), but I'm going to hold off on species until they grow some more. Thanks

Not an expert but...
Please look at Io Moth (Automeris io)

I think you will find that some will turn green soon...


But I could be way off...

They certainly have the Hemileuca-type spines.
Don't know which one, however :(
But it will be interesting to watch them as they grow.

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