It might look scary to some, or creepy or beautiful to others – depending on one's affinity for bugs.
Regardless, a hickory horned devil, as it's known, was spotted on Shelter Island Thursday morning, a rarity in the area. Cornell Cooperative Extension etymologist Dan Gilrein said it's the third spotting he's heard of in the past three years, having heard of none before then.
"They are pretty uncommon," he said, noting that the hickory horned devil in its current stage will eventually form into a regal moth. Both, he said, "are pretty spectacular, in any case."
Gilrein said he expects the caterpillar to turn into a moth probably sometime next year.
Its appearance might come off as a something to approach with caution, though the bug is not harmful. In fact, Gilrein said, he'd love to get his hands on one to rear some more in the area.
Shelter Island resident Amber Anglin's nephew found the caterpillar, about 5 inches long, on her parent's deck.
"Look aunt Amber, a caterpillar," he said.
Anglin added in a Facebook message: "I thought it was a toy and then it moved."
Have you seen any hickory-horned devils in the area?