Above is a Luna Moth, Actias luna, caterpillar and it will turn into one beautiful moth. This caterpillar may be late enough to overwinter in a coccoon and emerge in the spring. The adults never feed, in fact they do not have any mouthparts. Just fly around, breed, then die. Sort of sad, but nevertheless a gorgeous beast that I really enjoy viewing.
This critter looks like it has been rolled in those weird candy sprinkles that adorn some cake donuts. This is a Tulip Tree Silk Moth, Callosamia angulifera. It will spend about 10-11 months as a pupa in a cocoon. The adult has intricate patterns on the wings with rich, varying tones of brown and red.
This one looks like a smaller version of those Maltese dogs that usually have a bow in its hair.
This is a Spotted Apatelodes, Apatelodes torrefacta. What a mouthful! It feeds on cherry, oak, maple and and becomes a moth with a unique shape.
And lastly, my personal favorite. A Saddleback, Acharia stimulea. Dark brown, wicked spines and a green saddle. It looks like a creature from some fantasy movie that maybe a troll or perhaps a goblin would ride. Unfortunately, this guy has a very painful, lingering sting. I believe John, the photographer, has personal experience with this. I pick up a lot of creatures most would not, but I would not touch this guy! You would think this caterpillar would turn into a amazing-looking moth. Nope. Just a little brown jobby. But the caterpillar makes up for it.
So go outside, look for leaves that have been eaten or are turned under and find some of these great caterpillars!