Saddleback Caterpillar

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Saddleback Caterpillar

Saddleback Caterpillar (Acharia stimulea) (20341151203)

Acharia stimulea

Taxonomy: Insects (Insecta) » Butterflies and Moths (Lepidoptera) »Moths » Zygaenoidea » Slug Caterpillar Moths (Limacodidae) » Acharia »Saddleback Caterpillar Moth

Physical Description

The species belongs to the family of slug caterpillars, Limacodidae. They are green with what appears to be a “saddle horn” on their backs. The spot is brown and is what helps us identify the Saddleback so well, along with its other distinct features. The Saddlebacks is among the most colorful with its green (the back), white (along the edges of pattern), yellow (eyes), red (hairs), and black tips of the stinging hairs. It is noted as one of the top 28 stinging insects according to our chart that was created recently.


These caterpillars can be located in the eastern part of the U.S. They can be found in trees and shrubs and in tall grass and corn; they are also been known to dwell during the midsummer.

Who Are They Related To?

They are related to the Limacodidae family which is a family of moths. The larvae is known to have defense mechanism (the stinging hairs) to keep them from being eaten as often. They take flight in June to July.


The biggest predators of the Saddleback caterpillar are birds, and humans. You also have ants, and wasps that snack on these also. Most animals however don’t want to mess with the caterpillar, because of its stinging hairs.


According to Butterflies and Moths site, they Saddleback loves to eat apples, blueberries, corn, maples, sunflowers, grapes, maple, flamingo flower, hackberry, chestnut, spicebush, crape myrtle, sweet corn and so forth.

Does the Sting Hurt?

The sting is more painful than a bee stings according to an article by HGTV. This is really painful. According to the Schmidt Pain Index, that is midways in the scales which is quite painful.

What to Do When Saddleback Caterpillars Sting

When you get too close to the Saddleback and accidentally get stung, the best thing to do is immediately wash with soap and water, then after this apply ice to help relieve the pain. The sting and pain can last for hours depending the reaction of that particular person. People who allergic to stings must contact their doctors also. If you see the stingers in your skin, try to remove as soon as possible, as this keeps the rest of venom from spreading. The venom itself can cause a systemic condition called erucism or acute urticaria. Severe symptoms from sting may include migraines, anaphylactic shock, asthma complications, and rupturing of erythrocytes.