This is my first visit here, probably the first of many, since I have many species to identify!

The first is a regular resident of my back yard in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Mt. Washington. It's a large black caterpillar that comes out at night to feed on what I assume is native flora. I have seen as many as five or six at a time in a good (wet) year, but the last couple of years have literally seen only one at a time. Note the ant in the lower left for scale:

Large Black Caterpillar, Los Angeles, CA

A couple of years ago, I brought one home and kept it in a terrarium until it pupated and hatched. I have a picture of the cocoon, but can't post more than 2 links right now. It was dark brownish-red, with strands of silk that looked to anchor it to the ground, with the empty body on top.

It turned into this very pretty moth:

Large Black Caterpillar, hatched. Los Angeles

Unfortunately, it beat up its wings a little, as it took me some time to realize it had hatched. It was released at night.

I had a possible ID at one point on another website, but I didn't follow up with them, and have a lot of trouble searching there for my old thread. Found this place, and thought I'd give it a shot. As I say, I have many more species questions, but I'll just start with this one. Many thanks in advance.


1 Answer 1


Based on the image of the moth, I think this is a Painted Tiger Moth (Arachnis picta). See the image of the moth from the Wikipedia (you can even see the yellow color at the head region):

enter image description here

An image of the caterpillar can be found here, but this is less decisive. It also fits with the geographic location where you found the moth, see here.

  • $\begingroup$ That was fast! Thank you! The location does fit, because that's the same one! Tha'ts the page I couldn't get back to, and couldn't remember the possible species they had mentioned. Thank you very much. $\endgroup$
    – Chinghis
    May 2, 2016 at 21:19
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    $\begingroup$ @Chris - You do realize you used the OP's own photograph as a source, right? $\endgroup$ May 3, 2016 at 0:13
  • $\begingroup$ @anongoodnurse I see different images in the question and my answer. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    May 3, 2016 at 9:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris - You linked to the OP's photograph as a source for your answer. Still, it worked out well for the OP sice he had been searching for it. $\endgroup$ May 3, 2016 at 15:05
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    $\begingroup$ @anongoodnurse Now I got it, strange coincidence. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    May 3, 2016 at 18:09

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