This week, the question was: What is this wild-looking critter?
This is a caterpillar known as the hickory horned devil. The adult is a beautiful moth known as the regal moth (Citheronia regalis), but it is rarely seen due to its nocturnal habit. The hickory horned devil commonly feeds on the leaves of walnut, hickory, pecan, persimmon, and sweet gum trees. When the caterpillar is ready to pupate, it comes down from its host tree and looks for a spot to burrow into the soil. This is when they are most frequently observed. Though they look mean, hickory horned devils are completely harmless. Keep reading about them here.