by Vanessa Verdecia
A culture of imperial moth caterpillars (Eacles imperialis) was reared on oak leaves this summer in Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Section of Invertebrate Zoology. This species is common in Pennsylvania and belongs to the giant silkworm moth family known as the Saturniidae. The caterpillars occur in various color forms including green, brown, red, and pink, but they all have long setae (“hairs” as seen in the image) and pronounced white spots along the side. All the ones in this culture were brown. The larvae occur from July through September, and there is one generation this far north. The adult moths should eclose next year—late spring or early summer.
Vanessa Verdecia is a collection assistant in the museum’s Invertebrate Zoology Section. Museum employees are encouraged to blog about their unique experiences and knowledge gained from working at the museum.