Giant Leopard Moth

Here’s the moth Mia and I took from caterpillar to flight (and no, a bird didn’t get this one as soon as we let it go, as happened with a Luna moth at her school). It was lovely as a caterpillar, too–covered with black bristly hairs and showing vivid red bands between its body segments. Here’s how the Peterson First Guides book on Caterpillars describes the moth:

“The adult moth is very striking, with its 3-inch wingspan, white and black spotted forewings, and metalic blue abdomen with orange markings. It is eastern but more common in south Texas.”

66 thoughts on “Giant Leopard Moth

  1. AngelWings

    For all of you who have asked what to feed a leopard moth, I clicked on the link above provided by sjaantze42, and was heartbroken to learn that they don’t eat. They have no mouth, and live only long enough to mate and fertilize/lay eggs; approx. 1-2 weeks. My leopard moth emerged today, after five weeks of hiding beneath a clump of grass I planted in her habitat. I can’t stop crying. Such a beautiful creature, and now will have to release her sooner than I had planned, knowing she won’t live long. I’ll just have to hang on to the memories of her as a caterpillar. She loved crawling all over me and taking naps in the crook of my neck. :::sniff:::

  2. Susan

    Wow I found a baby giant leopard moth and i named him bill ^^ i can’t wait til he is bigger i thought at first he was a millipede or a centipede lol i can’t believe he eats bannana leaves i will give him to my gifted teacher it is SUCH a beautiful moth and i found this one in pensacola fl wow

  3. kaygem

    I found one of the Giant Leopard Moths in my kitchen. It’s just sitting on the side of the cabinet. It’s been there for a few days now. I finally got around to looking up what it is. I’m really sad to see that these beautiful moths only live for a few weeks. Gorgeous creature.

  4. Laurel

    My daughter and I found one of these caterpillars laying under some carpet in our yard. We have been feeding it dandelion leaves for about 2 months now. It has gone through one instar with us. This is when it sheds its current skin for a bigger one. We read that it over winters as a caterpillar and then cocoons in the spring to turn into a Leopard Moth. We just wondered if anyone could tell us how long that would take and if we are feeding it the right stuff or if we should be giving it anything else.

  5. Audrey

    My mom found this type of caterpillar in her garden 2 days ago. It was on her lettuce plants, chowing down vigorously. We put in a fish tank abut the size of 2 rectangular kleenex boxes stacked on top of each other. A lid is required!!! It can climb the surface of slippery plastic or glass, but strangely enough, can not make a chrysalis in the corner of a fish tank. He eats (and, unfortunately, poops) around the clock. I live near the twin cities in Minnesota, and my caterpillar is about an inch and a half long, fuzzy and black, all black except for traces of orange-ish red stripes beginning to form in between the bristles. I believe due to resources on other websites as well as this one that my caterpillar is quite young, and was wondering how old they must be before they develop their full stripes. Thanks!


  6. mel

    my son and I found a caterpillar back in August it recently came out of its caccoon and is a beautiful leopard moth. I am located in Ontario Canada and have never seen these moths around this part. Where do they originate from ?

    Thanks Mel

  7. Daryl Scroggins

    I don’t know where the leopard moth was first seen, but it’s nice to imagine them coming down from the moon.

  8. Daryl Scroggins

    Rick, yes. Thank you. Isn’t it odd? I’m always delighted to hear that some child or parent has found one of these, but I always feel bad that I really can’t answer the questions that come with the news. I love moths, but mostly I just put them outside when they get in the house instead of…. Comments on this post now take me back to when Mia was little and we so often examined bugs and leaves and snails. She seems all grown up now, but maybe she still thinks of such things too.

  9. Rick Neece

    I love being reminded of things I’ve forgotten. And, Daryl! Kids who’ve grown up? The past few days, I’ve been reminded there are kids who have never known Danny without me by his side, nor me without him. Hugs came from all leaving Rockton this morning. It worked my mind on the drive home to KC.

  10. Chibuzo

    Here I go again! I submitted my comment without a valid email and everything went KAPOOWEE! Now, where was I… Oh, it was two months ago when I found her crawling in the grass outside my back door. She was a furry, prickly thing with orange bands becoming visible upon closer inspection. It wasn’t long before I had swept her off of her feet (all six of them).For me it was love at first sight. I lavished her with affection (a.k.a dirt, fresh leaves sprinkled with water and a few sticks) and took the best care of her that I knew how. My very first soon to be Giant Leopard Moth! I couldn’t believe it! (of course I didn’t even know until I looked her up…thanks google!) . . . and then it happened. Late November, just after the rain stopped and the temperature dropped to a chilling near 40 degrees. She emerged as the most Beautiful Hypercompe scribonia I had EVER seen!. Yes, it happened today! I looked away for about two hours and I missed the metamorphosis, the transformation, the transmogrification, the… the (Sorry, I’m beside myself with glee.) She’s beautiful and unfortunately it’s too cold outside to let her go. I’m praying that Parthenogenesis (a form of asexual reproduction found in females whereby growth and developement occur in the absence of a male for fertilization) will take place, although my research suggests not, and that I’ll get to see the next generation of these fine creatures, but even if I don’t… It’s been real. It’s been a FANTASTIC experience!!! THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!

  11. John

    Hi everyone, I live in Pa about 45 mins away from Pittsburgh. I found my little Harry while I was outside smoke a cigarette on my back porch around the end of November. I first saw my Great Moth Caterpillar and I honestly was kind of scared of it. So I kinda just ignored and went back inside, and then I felt bad because it was starting to get cold outside so I went back out and found it crawling in the grass. I took mine inside and put it in a little hermit crab cage with some dirt, leaves, sticks, and some fresh lettuce to munch on. It still is in its caterpillar for as of right now, all it really does it climb around, eat, and sleep curled up in a ball. I’m in love with my caterpillar, and it’s very easy to take care of being 20 years old and always busy. I can’t wait until it morphs into a cocoon, and becomes the beautiful moth it is destined to be. Right now I hear it chewing on some leaves, if anyone can please tell me, how do I know when it is about to go into the cocoon stage. I’m getting kind of impatient, but it feels really good to know that I’m caring and giving it love and a good home.

  12. Cathy Beckwith

    We live on the Gulf Coast below Venice. Working in the yard last week, we found 2 “wooley” catapillar. Delighted to find out this little one is a Leopard Moth. Over the weekend, I found 2 more. WOW :) I placed them in a large aquarium with sand, sticks, etc. and keep fresh leaves from broadleaf plants. Have plenty. Well, the first 2 have gone into cocoon. Very odd, one wrapped sand all around and the other one crawled to the top of aquarium and has covered itself with its cocoon fuzz. I raise Monarch butterflies I gather from eggs in my garden. There are about 75 in different stages. The catapillar cocoon is so different from the Monarch chrysalis. I am so in love with all these little beings. I have photos to document as I do with the Butterflies. I do not see a place to add photos here. However, just thought I would share. Of course, it is mostly very warm here in the winter, so when they emerge it will be very exciting to release them and hopefully continue to raise them. We can never have too many beautiful Butterflies or Moths. Well mostly.

  13. Becka Hamsmith

    i found one of these in maryland by my yard when i was watering my flowers today and i was so scared i hadnt seen one ever!my nefew was right beside me and me not being smart i squirted the hose in its direction because of poisonious things and i didnt know what it was and all i thought was pretect the baby. is this normal for them to be in maryland in june? please reply thankyou. Becka Hamsmith. Ps. is there a fine for killing one of these?

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