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Species Phobetron pithecium - Hag Moth - Hodges#4677

What is it? - Phobetron pithecium Need help in ID on this - Phobetron pithecium Hag Moth - Phobetron pithecium Monkey Slug - Phobetron pithecium Insect Mimicking Dead Leaf in Virginia - Phobetron pithecium Some type of caterpillar? - Phobetron pithecium Phobetron pithecium Phobetron pithecium
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Zygaenoidea (Flannel, Slug Caterpillar, Leaf Skeletonizer Moths and kin)
Family Limacodidae (Slug Caterpillar Moths)
Genus Phobetron
Species pithecium (Hag Moth - Hodges#4677)
Hodges Number
Other Common Names
Monkey Slug (caterpillar)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Phobetron pithecium (Smith)
Orig. Comb: Phalaena pithecium J.E. Smith 1797
Explanation of Names
Hag moth comes from the 3rd, 5th, and 7th pairs of prolegs that are long, curved, and twisted. These are suggestive of the disheveled locks of a "hag." They are clothes with stinging hairs.(1)
Wingspan 20-28 mm
Larvae to 25 mm
Caterpillar is most frequently seen. Bizarre, brown, hairy creature that resembles some sort of aquatic creature more than a caterpillar. Three pairs of long arms and three pairs of short arms, which are "deciduous" - often one or more is missing.
Adult (imago) is brown with irregular silver highlights. Tufts (pencils) of white hair-like scales on forelegs are notable.
e. NA (TX-FL-QC-IA) - Map MPG
Deciduous forests
Adult: May-Oct
Caterpillar: July-Oct
Life Cycle
Dyar recorded on "oak, chestnut, sassafras, dogwood, and ash" (2)
Wagner reports, "Apple, ash, birch, cherry, chestnut, dogwood, hickory, oak, persimmon, walnut, and willow, as well as many other woody shrubs and trees" (3)
Caution, This is a stinging caterpillar. See this site for more information.
Print References
Covell, p. 410, plate 56 #7 (male), #10 (female) (4)
Wagner, p. 86 (5)
Mitchell, p. 145--good illustrations of caterpillar and adult (6)
Wagner, P. 44 (3)
Internet References
Stinging Caterpillars - Auburn University, College of Agriculture
Works Cited
1.Eastern Forest Insects
Whiteford L. Baker. 1972. U.S. Department of Agriculture · Forest Service.
2.The Life-Histories of the New York Slug Caterpillars
Harrison G. Dyar. 1895. Journal of the New York Entomological Society.
3.Caterpillars of Eastern North America
David L. Wagner. 2005. Princeton University Press.
4.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.
5.Caterpillars of Eastern Forests
David L. Wagner, Valerie Giles, Richard C. Reardon, Michael L. McManus. 1998. U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team.
6.Butterflies and Moths (A Golden Guide from St. Martin's Press)
Robert T. Mitchell, Herbert S. Zim, Andre Durenceau. 2001. Golden Guides from St. Martin's Press.