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There was entomological excitement and sadness today as I found a caterpillar that I’d never seen before…in our pond.  It looked like a 3rd or 4th instar (out of 5) of the Imperial moth (Eacles imperialis).  I’ve never seen this moth in our area before-surrounding states and south, yes, but not Illinois.  And to have one in my own yard is amazing!  They eat a variety of trees including oak, pine, maple and sweetgum.  I’m pretty sure this one dropped off the oak tree which hangs over the pond.  Hopefully there are a couple more caterpillars hanging out somewhere in those big trees.

Imperial Moth caterpillar sketch