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My niece found some caterpillars that we can't identify. Anyone know what these are? They were found in Massachusetts. The look kind of like Luna Moth caterpillars to me, but I'm not sure.

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    $\begingroup$ These are "the big kind" of caterpillars! :-) $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 8:53

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Most likely it is Polymopheus moth caterpillar, known as Antheraea polyphemus from the giant moth family.

yellow-green, and the setae become relatively less prominent with each molt. The translucent yellowish-green to green, full-grown (fifth instar) caterpillars are 60 to 75 mm in length. They have yellow mid-segmental lines that run from the sub-dorsal scoli (setae-bearing, wart-like bumps) touching the spiracles and to the lateral scoli on abdominal segments 2 to 7.

Reference

The species is widespread in continental North America, with local populations found throughout subarctic Canada and the United States. The caterpillar can eat 86,000 times its weight at emergence in a little less than two months.

Reference

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The adult wingspan is 10 to 15 cm (approximately 4 to 6 inches). The upper surface of the wings is various shades of reddish brown, gray, light brown or yellow-brown with transparent eyespots.

Reference

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Adult male moth

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Adult female moth

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  • $\begingroup$ These ones don't appear to have any setae at all, would the latter stage instars lose them completely? $\endgroup$
    – asgallant
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ @asgallant 'Older instars are yellow-green, and the setae become relatively less prominent with each molt. ' reference $\endgroup$
    – Ojasvi
    Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I read that. I'm asking if "less prominent" could mean "not visible at all". $\endgroup$
    – asgallant
    Commented Aug 21, 2020 at 0:19

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