This afternoon Ethan was raking leaves when he found a beautiful, silky brown caterpillar on the curb, under dead elm leaves:
This caterpillar probably fed on leaves this summer and early fall. Now it’s looking for a safe place to shed its skin and enter a resting stage, while it changes into a moth. (The resting stage is called a pupa, which may or may not live in a cocoon.)
But, what kind of caterpillar is it? What kind of moth does it become? My old moth and butterfly field guides did not illustrate a match, but we did find a somewhat similar caterpillar pictured online. So, maybe it’s the caterpillar of the Sloping Sallow moth — or maybe it’s not.
We released the caterpillar in our rock garden, which has lots of good places to hide and make a pupa.
If you can help us identify this caterpillar, please leave a comment, below.