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Gardener shares skin-crawling video of plump plant menace seeking its next victim: 'Heavens, the thing is huge'

"Things that are only cute because they are small: part one."

Polyphemus, Eaten by caterpillar

Photo Credit: iStock

Minneapolis is home to some of the country's finest public gardens, so it stands to reason that one of the nation's largest caterpillars lives there.

Two years ago, the r/AbsoluteUnits subreddit was the landing spot for another post about an enormous larva.

The 17-second video featured a six-inch beast writhing its way up the poster's forearm.

"Did it chew off your arm?" one commenter wrote. "Heavens, the thing is HUGE!"

"Things that are only cute because they are small: part one," another commenter joked.

The polyphemus — the third-largest caterpillar in the world — can be mistaken for the luna moth caterpillar because of their similar appearance. The former lives almost everywhere in the United States and Canada.

The caterpillars go through five instars, or growth stages between moltings, after they hatch. After they pupate in cocoons, the moths emerge with a hairy body and transparent eye spots on their hind wings. They mate the same day they emerge and live as adults for up to four days.

As caterpillars, polyphemus are eaten by raccoons, squirrels, yellowjackets, and ants. They can be parasitized by wasps as well and feed on broad-leaved trees and shrubs.

Since they can eat 86,000 times their weight, the invertebrates play a crucial role in maintaining biodiversity and balance in the ecosystem.

Their moths also are important, including as sources of food for other insects, spiders, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and bats. The indicator species has been around for at least 50 million years.

Polyphemus is named after the Greek myth of the Cyclops.

The caterpillars are not poisonous but can cause skin irritation, and many commenters noted they would not have been as brave as the poster.

Others, of course, focused on how colossal it was.

One user channeled The Very Hungry Caterpillar, writing: "Guy just ate through four strawberries but he's still hungry."

Another deadpanned: "Imagine this little dudes shoe bill."

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