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Large caterpillar - Hemileuca lucina

Large caterpillar - Hemileuca lucina
Holderness, Grafton County, New Hampshire, USA
June 10, 2012

Moved- Hemileuca
Moved from ID Request.

Your description certainly sounds like an area where I would expect to see H. lucina rather than H. maia. Although I am still not completely certain (and rarely would I move an image I am not certain about) I moved this to the H. lucina page because I feel as though this is likely H. lucina.

This is definitely a Hemileuca larva. NH has two species, H. maia and H. lucina, both of which are found farther south in NH. This may be the most northerly record of Hemileuca in NH, it is at least based on what I've seen. However, I'm not surprised that either species would show up in Grafton Co.

Do you have any idea of the host plant? Or possible surrounding hostplants? Or the habitat? H. lucina feeds on meadow sweet in marshy areas while H. maia is generally restricted to scrub oak barrens in New England. I would say this is more likely H. lucina, but I can't be certain without a little more information. It also must be taken into account that H. lucina is known to feed on oak (and other plants) in the final instars, but this individual still seems a little early in growth.

The habitat
Hi Ryan, I found this caterpillar on what appeared to be a dead (brown) stem in a large open field, which is bordered by forest on one side, a river on another, and a few oxbow ponds. I don't know all the plants that are found in the field - it's mostly tall grassy forms, and I've noticed patches of milkweed, poison ivy, and some Populus also sprinkled in there. I can easily go back and check it out in more detail if that would be helpful! I could send you a photo of the habitat if that would help, or larger (higher res) photos of the caterpillar as well.

looks like
Hemileuca but i will leave the narrowing down to Ryan hes the expert here

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