Meet the Slugs – Monkey Slug Caterpillar Moth

Monkey Slug - Limacodidae - Phobetron pithecium (4677) - Horseshoe Bend Natural Area, Texas County, MO
Monkey Slug – Limacodidae – Phobetron pithecium (4677) – Horseshoe Bend Natural Area, Texas County, MO

The final and perhaps most stunning of the slug moth caterpillars that we were able to find this past summer was the Monkey Slug, or “Hag Moth” caterpillar.  This particular one was first noticed by Sarah on the upper side of a dogwood leaf during a visit to Horseshoe Bend Natural Area near Houston MO.  We went on to find two in this particular tree.

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Monkey Slug – Limacodidae – Phobetron pithecium (4677) – Horseshoe Bend Natural Area, Texas County, MO

A leading thought on why these guys look the way they do is to mimic the shed exoskeleton of a tarantula.

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Monkey Slug – Limacodidae – Phobetron pithecium (4677) – Cuivre River State Park, Lincoln County, MO
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Meet the Slugs – Elegant-tailed Slug Moth Caterpillar

Elegant-tailed Slug Moth - Limacodidae - Packardia elegans (4661)
Elegant-tailed Slug Moth – Limacodidae – Packardia elegans (4661)

I found only a few Elegant-tailed Slugs this year and all were found at Hickory Canyons Natural Area in Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri.  The image below documents the only occasion where I found more than one slug on the same leaf, here a Spiny Oak Slug was found on the same curled leaf as our new Elegant-tailed Slug.

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Spiny Oak and Elegant-tailed Slug Moths – Limacodidae