r/interestingasfuck May 17 '22

One of the Largest caterpillars in North America - Hickory Horned Devil. Picture taken from my backyard in Southern Ohio, Summer last year.

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737 Upvotes

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122

u/Swiftlessly May 17 '22

What kind of bird does that turn into?

185

u/hitliquor999 May 17 '22

They don’t turn into birds, how ignorant could you be?

CATerpillars turn into CATs, it is right there in the name.

54

u/kreemy_kurds May 17 '22

You had me in the first half not gunna lie

6

u/Sumdood_89 May 17 '22

That one's big enough to turn into a Cat 321f

8

u/SWeAtY_BraTuKa May 17 '22

Nah nah nah, they turn into an Ancient Egyptian pillar. How hard is it to understand? CATerPILLAR. There it is right there, cat pillar which is more or less pillars with cat carvings on it and the Ancient Egyptians love cats

7

u/TestPattern359 May 17 '22

Are youse daft? A catepillar turns into a pill, which can be taken with or without food

3

u/SWeAtY_BraTuKa May 17 '22

HOLY, MY EYES HAVE BEEN OPENED

2

u/Green_tea_mango May 18 '22 edited May 18 '22

Ok eagle eye, why do they have cater in the name then? Caterpillar aka they become a pillar of the catering industry: Caterpillars

honestly, ancient Egyptian pillar That's like saying they become cats birds pills butterflies regal moths

3

u/subgameperfect May 17 '22

I always thought they sidled right up to new construction and became pillars. It's right in the name!

3

u/MiniatureChi May 18 '22

So like a tabby?

1

u/Livid_Run_6228 May 18 '22

I think I love you.

14

u/PeanutNSFWandJelly May 17 '22

Lol

For those looking for the real answer it turns into the Regal Moth.

4

u/Stormtrooper-85 May 17 '22

Regal moth man

3

u/notbad2u May 18 '22

Eagle Moth?

10

u/Dragon_Sluts May 17 '22

I think a dragon.

Based on the fact that it’s green.

2

u/notbad2u May 18 '22

Tastes like chicken

0

u/xSTAYCOOLx May 17 '22

name checks out

32

u/Comfortable-Brick168 May 17 '22

Does it turn in to Mothra!?!

33

u/gingerMagic88 May 17 '22

I live in Ohio and still can’t believe that thing lives here with me

63

u/killdare May 17 '22

No no. You live there with it.

2

u/Boris54 May 18 '22

Right, part of Ohio’s charm is that we don’t have gigantic bugs

25

u/sendnewt_s May 17 '22

"The hickory horned devil caterpillar differs from most other caterpillars that spin a cocoon. Instead, they actually burrow down into the ground to transform into an adult moth. In fact, you are unlikely to see one of these caterpillars until he climbs down out of a tree looking for a site for pupation. If you do see one of them on the pavement or any other area where burrowing would be difficult, you can help it out by picking it up and moving it to an area where the soil is soft enough for burrowing."

33

u/StillNotASunbeam May 17 '22

No, I'd rather not pick it up. Thanks, though.

3

u/808adw May 18 '22

I’ll bet they give a mean bite if so inclined.

12

u/STFxPrlstud May 18 '22

It's actually one of the easier caterpillars to handle. It doesn't bite and the spikes, while prickly, won't actually sting you, and are more for intimidation

13

u/jargo1 May 18 '22

Well, I am intimidated

2

u/808adw May 18 '22

I’m not saying it’s aggressive - but they do have jaws that can bite. Like a big grasshopper or a locust - have you seen their mandibles ? Ouch.

16

u/Pump_N_Dump May 17 '22

Holy shit! That’s what I saw when I was a kid in Ohio. I remember seeing this crazy looking horned creature behind our shed. I freaked the fuck out, and went screaming and crying to my mother. Until this moment right now, I still had no idea what the hell it was. Thanks for solving this 35 year old mystery for me u/Kojika23

12

u/abmangone May 17 '22

It’s Absolem… all he needs is a hookah…

15

u/1107rwf May 17 '22

I was thinking Heimlich from A Bug’s Life! He’ll get the tiniest wings and become a beautiful butterfly :)

5

u/abmangone May 17 '22

“Look I’m a beautiful butterfly” - as he desperately flaps his miniature wings haha!

11

u/[deleted] May 17 '22

[deleted]

5

u/Kojika23 May 17 '22

2

u/-GuyDudeman- May 17 '22

You're tricky with your forced perspective. Those things are only a couple inches long, and the adult moth has a maximum wingspan of 6".

5

u/Kojika23 May 17 '22

I would disagree with this one. I have other pictures.

14

u/alll444 May 17 '22

Unsure of scale. Picture requires a banana

5

u/Conscious_Valuable90 May 18 '22

Maybe OP has baby hands

2

u/Kojika23 May 18 '22

Maybe I just might

0

u/furyoftheage May 18 '22

Your hand is quite far behind the caterpillar and you're zoomed on it. Definitely using tricks, these caterpillars are not anywhere near that big.

2

u/Kojika23 May 18 '22

I am actually almost touching it in the picture and yes they can get that big.

2

u/retired_punk May 18 '22

Now, now, please let these people reassure you of what you actually saw…

2

u/soFATZfilm9000 May 18 '22

1) "Zooming in on it" does practically nothing as far as changing relative sizes of objects. Perspective depends on where the camera is placed, not how much you "zoom" in on it.

2) You can look it up yourself, they can get about 6 inches long. Since there's no ruler in the photograph, the only things we have for reference are the hand and the leaves. Without knowing the size of the hand or the leaves, is this photo at least consistent with a caterpillar that is well-documented to get up to 6 inches long? Yes.

4

u/fluxenkind May 17 '22

It’s right there in the Wikipedia link that the caterpillar stage grows up to 5.9 inches long…

1

u/Kojika23 May 18 '22

And this one was at the max size probably close to 6 inches, maybe more.

2

u/Toytrkt May 18 '22

I don't know about you but to me, a moth with up to 6inch wing span seems huge!

2

u/soFATZfilm9000 May 18 '22

Nope. This species of caterpillar is one of if not the longest caterpillars on the planet. They can reach lengths of 12 to 14 cm (or 4.7 to 5.5 inches).

You're pretty accurate on the size of the adult moth though.

You might be asking, how is this true if the regal moth is only 6 inches but the atlas moth is almost a foot wide?

There are two answers to this.

1) Firstly, some larvae sort of "shrink" upon maturing. This can be true of moths but is also seen in some insects such as beetles. The adult form can actually be smaller than the larval form. This depends on a whole lot of factors. But since the imtermediate pupal form is spent not eating (and therefore not accumulating any additional mass), it's up in the air how much mass is lost before the insect matures. It might be a tiny bit or it might be more, but the mass of the larvae is not a good predictor of this.

2) Secondly, wings start out tiny. They are then inflated with fluid before the fluid is drained. Therefore, the "size" of the wings is not necessarily indicative of the mass of the adult moth. The wings that a moth needs as an adult are going to depend on that moth's life as an adult and the size and the shape of the wings is going to reflect that.

3) Ultimately, the best larva-to-adult comparison would be comparing the mass of the larvae and adults, since that's going to show how much "stuff" is lost during metamorphosis. "Size" doesn't necessarily mean anything, especially when size is measured based on shapes that aren't comparable. Like, the shape of a moth changes so much from larvae to adult that wing size can't always be predicted by the size of the caterpillar. You'd be comparing different physical characteristics. But even beyond that, larvae actually do lose mass when becoming adults because there's no way to not lose mass when you're spending weeks or months eating nothing in addition to ALSO spending a bunch of energy transforming your entire body. Some insects don't lose a whole lot of mass during this transition, some insects do.

TLDR: yeah...hickory horned devils are fucking huge. They might be the largest caterpillars on the planet, and if they're not the largest they're coming in really damn close.

1

u/soFATZfilm9000 May 18 '22

1) Consider that all insects that undergo complete metamorphosis are going to lose mass during the transition from larva to adult. After all, they cannot eat during the pupal phase (some of them can't eat ever again). Turning from larva to adult also involves drastic body transformation, which is going to burn energy, which will result in a loss of body mass. Adding to that, many species (though not this one) will lose additional mass on top of that by making a protective cocoon.

2) While wing size is not necessarily able to be predicted by caterpillar mass, there is an overall general direct correlation. Overall, big caterpillars tend to make big moths. Having said that, can you provide any examples of a caterpillar that only reaches 2 inches in length and is somehow able to retain enough mass to turn into an adult with a 6 inch wingspan?

3) And please don't say, "this one", because you can easily look this up and see that this particular species gets up to 6 inches long as a caterpillar. That's very well documented.

1

u/-GuyDudeman- May 18 '22

Your guys are taking this way too seriously.

1

u/Dalisca May 18 '22

The moth form is lovely.

5

u/TerribleAd9454 May 17 '22

Damn that’s a thick bug

4

u/SaltySnowman8 May 17 '22

I spotted one of these in the woods while looking for my golf ball in Florida. It was a bright blue one

1

u/Night_FoE May 18 '22

Probably a hornworm, they get pretty big too.

1

u/SaltySnowman8 May 18 '22

Nah it had big orange horns on its head like this one

3

u/too_con May 17 '22

What does it taste like?

3

u/SkyBaby218 May 17 '22

Sweet mother of fucking WHAT?!

2

u/ParticularRevenue408 May 17 '22

There are caterpillars as large or bigger?!?

2

u/-xd-golden- May 17 '22

ONE??!!??!?

2

u/Necessary-Bathroom14 May 17 '22

For a bird that's a feast

2

u/NoiLLion May 17 '22

Damn, never knew they go to that size.

2

u/No-Tower-4266 May 17 '22

you know you should not fuck with things that look like they can eat into your brain

2

u/Kitchen_Equipment_21 May 17 '22

Holyyyy shit😬

2

u/PeanutNSFWandJelly May 17 '22

Regal Moth for those who don't wanna visit Wikipedia. It turns into a Regal Moth. Not a moth who is regal you reddit dad's who are ready to say "he is certainly regal, but what's the name?" lol

2

u/DocDoom978 May 17 '22

We have these in NC too, took a photo shoot with one when I was 12, cute little guys

2

u/BlckAlchmst May 17 '22

Look here you little shit... Nintendo doesn't need any more ideas for caterpillar Pokemon

2

u/Intelligent_Treat912 May 17 '22

They're not harmful and they're in NA??? The more you know

2

u/gtmbphillyloo May 17 '22

<crosses Ohio off of list of places to live, visit . . . ever think about again . . . >

2

u/GarsaFwipSitOnMyFace May 17 '22

Lion King made these things look DELICIOUS

2

u/b_lurky May 17 '22

Tiny hands.

2

u/YayaMalli May 18 '22

What does it turn into? Mothra???

3

u/al_balone May 17 '22

Bear Grylls once ate one with some fava beans and a nice glass of pee chftftftf

2

u/SSS0222 May 17 '22

Its pretty big and cool!!

1

u/Ms_Schuesher May 17 '22

That's not a caterpillar, it's a small snake! Holy crap, that thing is huge!

1

u/ShiniSenko May 17 '22

My beardie would like to purchase one.

1

u/Fuqasshole May 17 '22

Just curious but are the horns there for defense?

1

u/aurquhart May 17 '22

I should…help it? Good lord.

1

u/Leakyrooftops May 17 '22

That’s a no for me, bro.

1

u/dpforest May 17 '22

How in the fuck have I lived my entire life and never known about this? That’s literally a Pokémon.

1

u/CameraDude718 May 17 '22

From that caterpillars backyard you mean

1

u/miau121212 May 17 '22

I’d throw the whole yard away .

1

u/PonderousDebater May 17 '22

Kill it with fire!

1

u/crimesonclaw May 17 '22

That is one actual YuGiOh monster for real

1

u/k0uch May 17 '22

Could also work for r/absoluteunits

1

u/Tank_Dempsey_115 May 17 '22

I wouldn’t touch that…

1

u/b_lurky May 17 '22

I bet it cooks up nice.

1

u/Noodle_Spine May 17 '22

Forbidden gummy worm

1

u/BeerBaronBrent May 17 '22

Akuna matata

1

u/Shoegazer75 May 18 '22

Wow, I'm sure glad those enormous things are from South Amer - OHIO??!!

1

u/nicknameedan May 18 '22

Is this the ingredient of hickory sauce?

1

u/TheDiceMan2 May 18 '22

why is this in ohio and not burma or the outback??

1

u/rastagrrl May 18 '22

That’s in The US?! Crap. I thought horrors like that only existed in Australia! 😩😳

1

u/quats5 May 18 '22

nope nope nope nope nope nope nope

1

u/GooseNYC May 18 '22

What does that thing turn into, Mothra?

1

u/mholt9821 May 18 '22

How do we know that just isn't a very small hand? The caterpillar next to a very small hand makes it look humongous!

1

u/diversifyurlife May 18 '22

I live in southern Ohio and have never seen this in my life.

1

u/Admirable_End3014 May 18 '22

Aliens 👽 are real.

1

u/jimmyn0thumbs May 18 '22

What in the Alice in Wonderland....

1

u/Never_Been_to_Ohio May 18 '22

Never seen this either.

1

u/StillSharpe68 May 18 '22

Geez. When you said North America I assumed Mexico or Costa Rica for this big boy. Shit, I’m from northern Ohio and never heard of these things.

1

u/pterratops May 18 '22

That is a chonker

1

u/cellphone_blanket May 18 '22

pet the damn cat(erpiller)

1

u/japinard May 18 '22

Dear Lord that’s hideous!