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American dagger moth

I have found an American dagger moth caterpiller in my yard and have captured it so my children can watch it transform. I used to raise Monarchs when I was growng up and would like to know how to care for this one. It seems to enjoy maple leaves and is content in its large pickle jar home. When should we expect the transformation? And how long is the total process? Any info would be helpful.

I've reared this species
From what I can remember the caterpillar will spin its cocoon on the trunk of the tree, chewing up the bark and using it to build the coccon. Thus give the caterpillar a piece of soft stringy bark or wood. Coarse brown paper may work also. I could be mistaken so also give it some clean soil in case it spins a cocoon underground. Moth will probably emerge later this year.

rearing giant leopard
Thanks Tony,

I will try the bark, I have some crepe myrtles that are shedding bark right now. However, he seems to have spun himself into a very transparent, thin cocoon already. I will put some bark in just in case he wants it.


American Dagger Moth
today I also made an enclosure from a gallon jar and within two hours our catterpillar started forming a web by pulling leaves together and has a nice enclosure made... we used several sprigs from the plant we found it on... we will post an update soon.

rearing caterpillars
USDA's Caterpillars of Eastern Forests has some helpful advice on this page
Rearing Caterpillars.
I captured a different moth caterpillar (Giant Leopard Moth) recently and put it in a container with a food plant and loose leaves. It spun the leaves together with silk to make an enclosure, inside which it made its last molt. Perhaps yours will do something similar.

rearing caterpillars
Thanks for the info on how the giant leopard pupates. I've been to every moth site trying to find out I have one that is spinning silk between two paper towels. I don't think I had enough leaf material in there for him. By the way, it took this guy a long time (or so it seems), at least 3 weeks, to finally start this process, and he was quite large when I found him!

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