“Spikey Saddleback Surprise” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Saddleback Caterpillar, Georgia, USA, Summer 2010

The saddleback caterpillar, Sibine stimulea, as seen in my photos herein, is a formidable foe to birds and other predators.  This caterpillar is found in eastern North America, and belongs to the family of slug caterpillars.

With it’s green and brown coloration, the saddleback caterpillar blends in with tree bark and foliage, camouflaging itself.  A circular brown spot on it’s back gives it the name, “saddleback.”  Circular white-colored spots may serve to scare away possible attackers. 

Saddleback Caterpillar, Georgia, USA, Summer 2010

Arguably, the saddleback caterpillar’s greatest assets are it’s horns on which protrude urticating hairs.  These hairs are more akin to needle-like spikes that secrete poison that can cause irritation and pain.

Saddleback Caterpillar on Plum Tree Leaf, Georgia, USA, Summer 2010

I have never touched a saddleback caterpillar, and I don’t suggest for anyone to do so.  These caterpillars are really beautiful and interesting to view, though I wouldn’t want one to mistake me for a predator, stinging me with poisonous venom.  They are better to leave alone, simply admiring their uniqueness and natural beauty!

Female Saddleback (Caterpillar) Moth, http://bugguide.net/node/view/507, May 17, 2012

Above, please enjoy viewing a photo of the female moth of this species!


Bugguide.  http://bugguide.net/node/view/507.  May 17, 2012.


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About LepidopteraLovers

I enjoy collecting and photographing butterflies and moths, as well as blogging about them!

7 responses to ““Spikey Saddleback Surprise” (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)”

  1. M. Gabriel Paulraj says :

    Beautiful creatures are also dangerous (like sadleback caterpillar). Could you please post the picture of adult moth of this species?

  2. Pete says :

    Thank you very much for this post!!!!!
    I was stuck/stung by this caterpillar today wile pulling weeds in my garden. Ouch!!! I had not known what it was until reading your post. The saddleback was under the leaf of a first year maple tree seedling. It really stings!
    – Hudson Valley, NY

    • LepidopteraLovers says :

      Hi Pete, Ouch, ooh, I’m sorry you got stung. 😦 The spikes on this caterpillar are surprisingly and extremely sharp. I hope you have medicated your hand, and are doing okay. Thanks for your comments!

  3. Matt says :

    Yes hello I found one that is exactly like this. But it is redish instead of black is it the same thing

  4. Linda says :

    What is best to put on a sting? My grandson got stung today.

    • LepidopteraLovers says :

      Hi Linda, Thanks for your question. I would suggest Kids After Bite, made by Tender Corporation. This works great on fire ant and mosquito bites. It may also help take the sting and itch away from the Saddleback toxins.

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