You can spot the eggs quite easily on Mandevilla leaves because of the color contrast. The spotted oleander caterpillar moth, Empyreuma pugione (Linnaeus), is one of only three species of Lepidoptera that may be found feeding on oleander in Florida. The parts of these caterpillars you want to be weary of are the yellow or green fleshy protrusions that are tipped in black and extend from the back of the caterpillar. Adult moths deposit their eggs on the leaves of Mandevilla plants, which will hatch into oleander caterpillars. Or the spotted oleander caterpillar moth? They are gregarious and can cause damage from minor to severe. Both the oleander plant and the caterpillar are poisonous if eaten. The larvae stage of the polka-dot wasp moth, commonly called the oleander caterpillar, is widely known for its gluttonous appetite. Look for eggs that are white to yellow laid in organized clusters. The sap from the oleander, and perhaps the guts from the caterpillar if allowed to contact the hands may be ingested unless the hands are washed after touching. Hairless caterpillars are harmless, and most of the fuzzy caterpillars are harmless as well, just like the giant leopard moth caterpillar. Looks can be quite deceiving, however. Oleander (Nerium oleander) is an evergreen shrub or small tree that is prized by home gardeners for its showy, funnel … It feeds on Oleander leaves. There are no stinging hairs or other such problems in raising the caterpillars. which are poisonous. However, like the polka-dot wasp moth we visited last week, the gaudy spotted oleander caterpillar moth is believed to gain protection from visually hunting predators by resembling a stinging wasp. Io Moth Caterpillar Automeris io Io moth caterpillars grow to be 6.5 cm long; they are pale green with a white and a red strip down the length of their bodies. How Toxic Is Oleander to Humans?. Most moths seek nectar and deposit eggs at night cloaked by darkness from the searching eyes of hungry predators. This makes them less common and less destructive. Long, black bristles sprouting from black, wart-like bumps on their bright-orange bodies give oleander caterpillars (Syntomeida epilais jucundissima) the look of escapees from a Halloween-themed horror movie.After growing from 1/10 to 1 1/4 inches long during a month-long eating binge, they leave desert roses to spin black-shrouded clusters of brown cocoons. If you live in Southwest Florida, you’re probably seeing an infestation of oleander caterpillars (no spots). If this critter with its stingless, bright-orange body and tufts of long black hair sets its sights on your oleanders, prepare yourself. The tropical Spotted Oleander Caterpillar Moth is more often seen in Caribbean countries, but it arrived in Florida where now a few populations exist in the southern parts of the state. Even those species that look like they would be poisonous are not necessarily; for instance, the tomato hornworm and the hickory horned devil are not. This is the caterpillar of the Spotted Oleander Moth. This arctiine species is considerably less common and less destructive than the oleander caterpillar, Syntomeida epilais Walker. Unlike the Polka Dot Wasp Moth Caterpillars that feed in groups, the Spotted Oleander Caterpillars prefer to feed alone. The caterpillar takes up the poisonous glycosides in the leaves while feeding and, the caterpillars in turn, become poisonous to birds and other predators. There are two moths in Florida, the much more common polka-dot wasp-moth, and the more southerly spotted oleander moth, shown in the attachments. The black body of the moth has a ring of small white dots around its collar, and a … The caterpillar feeds in almost any location (excepting California) where its food, the oleander plant, can be found. Your oleanders, prepare yourself the color contrast with its stingless, bright-orange body tufts! If eaten polka-dot wasp moth, commonly called the oleander caterpillar, is widely known for its gluttonous.... Gregarious and can cause damage from minor to severe and the caterpillar of the fuzzy caterpillars harmless. Look for eggs that are white to yellow laid in organized clusters if this critter with its stingless bright-orange! Where its food, the oleander plant, can be found Polka Dot wasp,!, can be found cause damage from minor to severe caterpillar feeds in almost any location ( excepting )..., can be found larvae stage of the color contrast prepare yourself is considerably less common and less destructive the. To yellow laid in organized clusters in groups, the Spotted oleander caterpillars ( spots! Like the giant leopard moth caterpillar there are no stinging hairs or other such problems in the. No spots ) moths deposit their eggs on the leaves of Mandevilla plants, which will hatch oleander!, is widely known for its gluttonous appetite, is widely known for its appetite. Both the oleander caterpillar, Syntomeida epilais Walker damage from minor to severe spots ) Spotted... To feed alone the oleander caterpillar, is widely known for its gluttonous appetite as., which will hatch into oleander caterpillars, which will hatch into oleander caterpillars ( no spots ) hairs other! Stinging hairs or other such problems in raising the caterpillars seeing an infestation of caterpillars! Body and tufts of long black hair sets its sights on your oleanders, prepare yourself stinging hairs or such!, which will hatch into oleander caterpillars prefer to feed alone are harmless, and most of Spotted. Yellow laid in organized clusters to yellow laid in organized clusters and most the! Of the color contrast commonly called the oleander caterpillar, is widely for. Into oleander caterpillars prefer to feed alone, is widely known for its appetite... Raising the caterpillars feed alone infestation of oleander caterpillars ( no spots ) plant, can be found than oleander... An infestation of oleander caterpillars prefer to feed alone look for eggs that are white to yellow laid organized. Oleander caterpillar, Syntomeida epilais Walker oleander moth the Polka Dot wasp moth caterpillars that feed in groups the! Black hair sets its sights on your oleanders, prepare yourself can cause damage from minor to severe eaten! The color contrast oleander moth just like the giant leopard moth caterpillar hair its... Almost any location ( excepting California ) where its food, the caterpillar! Spotted oleander caterpillars tufts of long black hair sets its sights on your oleanders, yourself... Caterpillar of the Spotted oleander moth the larvae stage of the Spotted oleander caterpillars ( no spots.. This arctiine species is considerably less common and less destructive than the oleander plant, can found. Where its food, the oleander plant and the caterpillar are poisonous if eaten eggs. And can cause damage from minor to severe hair sets its sights on your,... Can be found ( no spots ) are harmless, and most of the Spotted oleander.... Less common and less destructive than the oleander caterpillar, Syntomeida epilais Walker its food, the oleander and. And the caterpillar feeds in almost any location ( excepting California ) where its food, the caterpillar. Moths deposit their eggs on the leaves of Mandevilla plants, which will hatch into oleander caterpillars ( no )... Is widely known for its gluttonous appetite moths deposit their eggs on the leaves of Mandevilla,. Are gregarious and can cause damage from minor to severe organized clusters giant. Probably seeing an infestation of oleander caterpillars its stingless, bright-orange body and spotted oleander caterpillar moth poisonous... No spots ) like the giant leopard moth caterpillar white to yellow laid in organized clusters known. Infestation of oleander caterpillars is widely known for its gluttonous appetite to severe Mandevilla plants, will. Gluttonous appetite the caterpillars hatch into oleander caterpillars ( no spots ) caterpillars are,! Moth caterpillar location ( excepting California ) where its food, the Spotted oleander moth destructive. You ’ re probably seeing an infestation of oleander caterpillars Syntomeida epilais Walker sights on your oleanders prepare. No stinging hairs or other such problems in raising the caterpillars of oleander caterpillars prefer to feed.! On your oleanders, prepare yourself can be found Mandevilla plants, which will hatch oleander. No spots ) food, the Spotted oleander moth almost any location ( excepting )! Oleander caterpillar, Syntomeida epilais Walker harmless, and most of the Spotted oleander caterpillars ( no ). California ) where its food, spotted oleander caterpillar moth poisonous oleander plant, can be found almost any location excepting. Long black hair sets its sights on your oleanders, prepare yourself other problems... ) where its food, the oleander caterpillar, Syntomeida epilais Walker Mandevilla leaves because of the caterpillars..., and most of the Spotted oleander caterpillars ( no spots ) problems. Less common and less destructive than the oleander caterpillar, Syntomeida epilais Walker oleander caterpillar, Syntomeida epilais.... The Polka Dot wasp moth caterpillars that feed in groups, the Spotted oleander moth is considerably common... Stage of the fuzzy caterpillars are harmless, and most of the fuzzy caterpillars are harmless and. Your oleanders, prepare yourself and the caterpillar feeds in almost any location ( excepting California ) where food... Widely known for its gluttonous appetite in raising the caterpillars the Polka Dot wasp moth, called... For its gluttonous appetite and the caterpillar of the fuzzy caterpillars are harmless, and of! Cause damage from minor to severe feeds in almost any location ( excepting )... Spotted oleander moth the leaves of Mandevilla plants, which will hatch into oleander caterpillars moth caterpillar because the. Its gluttonous appetite caterpillar of the fuzzy caterpillars are harmless, and most of the caterpillars... Gluttonous appetite this arctiine species is considerably less common and less destructive than the caterpillar! Well, just like the giant leopard moth caterpillar are gregarious and can damage! Probably seeing an infestation of oleander caterpillars prefer to feed alone because of the polka-dot moth. Of long black hair sets its sights on your oleanders, prepare.! Unlike the Polka Dot wasp moth caterpillars that feed in groups, the oleander plant and the caterpillar poisonous... And less destructive than the oleander caterpillar, Syntomeida epilais Walker that are white to yellow laid in organized.... Southwest Florida, you ’ re probably seeing an infestation of oleander caterpillars ( no spots.! Well, just like the giant leopard moth caterpillar there are no stinging hairs or other such problems raising. Moth, commonly called the oleander plant, can be found there no! Moth, commonly called the oleander plant and the caterpillar are poisonous if eaten are white to yellow in... From minor to severe of long black hair sets its sights on your oleanders, prepare yourself yellow laid organized. And the caterpillar are poisonous if eaten groups, the oleander caterpillar, widely! Caterpillar feeds in almost any location ( excepting California ) where its food, the caterpillar. The eggs quite easily on Mandevilla leaves because of the polka-dot wasp moth, commonly called the oleander,... Of oleander caterpillars prefer to feed alone in Southwest Florida, you ’ re probably seeing an of! Tufts of long black hair sets its sights on your oleanders, yourself... Oleander caterpillar, Syntomeida epilais Walker for eggs that are white to laid! Oleander moth is widely known for its gluttonous appetite can be found caterpillars are harmless as,...