Hickory trees feed regal moths
Hickory tree leaves are the larval food source of two hundred moths or butterflies; and one is particular is spectacular in both the larval and adult stage. The regal moth, Citheronia regalis, although active at night, is as beautiful as many butterflies with wings and body brightly colored with orange and yellow patterns. If you ever find the wildest looking creature imaginable on the ground, it is probably the larva of this moth which is called the hickory horned devil, our largest larva. Almost as big as a hot dog-- it’s bluish-green with incredibly frightening looking yellow- black but non-irritating projections, you’d be completely safe picking it up. This caterpillar pupates in the soil. If you find one on the ground, take it to an area that will be undisturbed and place it in in the mulch.