Black caterpillar with bright red head and legs, and yellow spots (Azalea caterpillar)

by Michael
(Pensacola, FL)

two working in tandem

two working in tandem

I was trimming my hedges (no idea what the plants are, sorry), late august, northwest florida, and saw a whole lot of these; I'm wondering what the heck they'll grow up to be.

Comments for Black caterpillar with bright red head and legs, and yellow spots (Azalea caterpillar)

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Azalea caterpillar
by: Moni

Michael
Your caterpillar is the Azalea moth caterpillar also called the Azalea caterpillar while the moth is sometimes called Major datana.
The caterpillars are very distinctive with those red legs!
You are probably pruning azalea hedges since that is the primary food for this insect, tho they have been found eating apple, red oak and bog rosemary.
This insect is found in moist boggy or swampy areas in southeastern US from MD to FL then west to AR and KS.

Thank you, Moni.
by: M B Barnett

You have done it again. Amazing. For some reason, although we live in azalea country, I had never observed this caterpillar before. Your identification of the azalea caterpillar is very helpful, and very much appreciated. Thank you.

Azalea Caterpillar
by: Tom D.

You said these are commonly found in boggy marsh areas. Would it be unusual to find them in dryer areas around Raleigh NC?

Azaleas caterpiller in northern AZ?
by: Eleanor

Last summer I had hundreds of these eating my apple tree leaves, you could hear them munching 3' away! But, no azaleas here, just lots of Juniper. I am at 6500' in northern AZ. Anybody know how they might have gotten here?

caterpillars
by: Moni

Eleanor
There are several caterpillars in this genus that look similar that could be in your area. The one most commonly found eating leaves on apple is the yellow-necked caterpillar.

They feed in clusters and if you disturb them they stick their heads and tails in the air to try to scare you away.

The yellow-necked caterpillar is a pest of orchards. If you need to control them, treat with Bt (Bacillus thurengenises) as it only affects caterpillars not bees or other beneficial insects. Bt will kill any caterpillars. Be careful to follow label directions for your area and do not get spray on flower beds or other plants where moth or butterfly caterpillars might be feeding.

azaleas
by: Debi

I've lived in Florida for 12 years and today was the first time I've ever seen the caterpillar, i had to look it up on Google to find out what it was. All the times I have trimmed my azaleas I've never seen these little cuties

Amazing
by: Anonymous

Wow out me and my cousin been watching these caterpillars about 2weeks now and glad to know what they r called we live in Dothan Alabama

Azalea caterpillar
by: Ron

I collected about 2 dozen of these on four large
azaleas today. I have had azaleas here for over
16 years and this is the first time I've seen the
caterpillars which seem to like larger leaf azaleas
best - sort of stripping the limbs of vegetation.
Wonder what can I spray on my azaleas to rid myself
of these pests.

beautiful and amazing creations
by: joyce gaus

I am 80 yrs old and have lived in this house for almost 60 yrs. Planted azaleas the first year. and this is the first time I've seen them. I broke the limbs they were on and killed them. of course I'll check tomorrow to see if I got them all. thanks so much for the information.

Azalea Caterpillar
by: Betth

I live in Columbus Ga. This is the first year i saw these colored caterpillars on my azalea brushes. I just let them LIVE we all heve a purpose here on Earth. I would like to know if they sting me if i hold one and what type of butterfly will they become. Thanks for the help.

Azalea caterpillars
by: Sylvia

We have had azaleas for many years and never seen these caterpillars. Went on a squashing spree this
afternoon! Our parsley used to draw caterpillars, that's all we have seen - but not on our azaleas.
Why now?

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Black and Orange Caterpillar (Western tent caterpillar)

by Jessica
(Oregon)

Small with Hairs. Orange with Black spots/ stripes.

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Western tent caterpillar
by: Moni

Jessica
When you say small, just how long is that?
Your caterpillar is a western tent caterpillar.
This caterpillar feeds on red alder, snowbrush (Ceanothus), and bitterbrush in the west as well as other broadleaf trees such as aspen, alder,cherry , oak, and willow.

These are found in wooded areas, roadsides, and treed yards and gardens of the western North America as well as east to Quebec then south to NH and NY.

The female moth is lighter colored than the male. These moths fly at night and come to lights.

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caterpillar (White-blotched Heterocampa moth caterpillar)

by Ardie
(Lead Hill AR USA)

Fell from a mulberry tree this morning--09/22/2010

Unusual color (reddish purple), about1-3/4" long.

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White-blotched Heterocampa moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Ardie
Your caterpillar will become the White-blotched Heterocampa moth.

This insect is found in eastern North America south to TX.

The caterpillars are found in areas where oaks grow as they feed on oaks...do you have an oak tree near the mulberry?

Since your caterpillar is so pink and with faint markings, it means it is ready to pupate. That is probably why it dropped. It will pupate for the winter then the adult moth will emerge in Spring.

Can you keep them
by: Anonymous

My daughter found one of these moths should we let it go? It has the pink on it so it is ready to pupate. Does it need to be outside in order to go through the stages?

Caterpillar rearing
by: Moni

Can you Keep Them
Well, yes you can try to rear the caterpillar. If you decide to rear it, make sure you keep doing what the insect needs.

The rearing of caterpillars is a challenge. Mother Nature does it best. And just so you know ahead of time, when you find a caterpillar in the 'wild', sometimes they have been parasitized ...meaning another insect like a fly or wasp has laid eggs inside the caterpillar. So when you try to rear the caterpillar, it dies from the eggs inside it - not something you can predict.
This insect overwinters in pupa stage...so you would not see the moth until next spring.



With all that said the basics of rearing any insect is to feed it what it wants to eat...fresh (never sprayed with insecticides) food continually. Then, when the caterpillar stops eating...they will typically go searching for a place to pupate. You would put the caterpillar in a jar with a couple inches of loose soil that is barely damp. Then add leaves of its favorite plants. This jar should be covered with a paper/cloth towel to keep parasites from the caterpillar. Keep fresh leaves for it to eat. When it quits eating, it is best to provide layers of barely damp paper towels for the caterpillar to pupate in between. It may just pupate in the soil. Then, this needs to be kept someplace where the temperatures are like they are outside. Like on a porch out of direct sun. For winter, some folks put them in the refrigerator then put a drop of water on the paper towel once a month thru the winter until the trees start to put out foliage. Then you would bring the jar with the pupa outside to let it emerge with the normal weather. Putting a stick in the container for the moth to climb up on.

This is a brief description and may not be enough for rearing but gives you an idea.
Please do a lot of internet research.
It is great for kids to see insect development..so hope you have good success rearing it.

Send us a photo of the moth if you do decide to rear it.



My Photo
by: Ardie

I was surprised and pleased to run into my own photo on the internet. I love helping people learn more about nature. Thank you for posting.

Found one in North East Mississippi
by: Anonymous

First time I ever seen one of these. Found it crawling under my oak trees. North East Mississippi. It secreted fluid and flinched vigorously when I moved it with a leaf. Beautiful color

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green brown white-spotted caterpillar (American Lady butterfly caterpillar)

by Susan
(Bloomingdale, NY)

getting ready to pupate

getting ready to pupate

One inch or so larvae with orange and white spots; several have been feeding on Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium since June in Adirondack region of New York.

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American Lady butterfly caterpillar
by: Moni

Susan
Your caterpillar will become a American Lady butterfly.
The caterpillars feed on Sweet everlastings (Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium) and another asters like cudweeds.
The adult butterflies feed on the nectar of many flowers.

These butterflies are found over much of North America south to Columbia and Venzuela.

This genus of butterflies migrate much like the monarchs do. Here is a website about migration research for this group of butterflies -


Hey
by: Anonymous

Are they good for plants

American Lady butterfly caterpillar
by: Moni

Hey
Not sure I understand your question? The butterflies do help plants by providing some pollination...not great pollinators but help. The larvae need to eat to live...if they eat your favorite plant or you have a small new plant and the larvae eat most of it - you will not think they are good, but they are not pests. They will not kill most healthy plants with the little they eat.

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red with black spikes caterpillar (Gulf fritillary caterpillar)

by G Sapp
(Orange Park, Florida)

This guy/gal is eating my passion fruit vine! do I relocate him? or does he need to 'go'?

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Gulf fritillary caterpillar
by: Moni

G Sapp
Your caterpillar that eats passion vines is the Gulf fritillary.

They do feed on the various species of passion flower vines.
This is not considered a garden pest, but is enjoyed for the beautiful butterfly!


Since the larvae feed on passion flower vine they are poisonous if eaten...the bright orange color is a warning to predators - so birds avoid them! This insect is common in Florida and southern states as well as central America.

However with the cultivation of passion vine, this insect has extended its range more northward.
Please leave it, so you can see the beautiful butterfly!

Red with black spikes caterpillar
by: kkn

Sorry but I killed a lot of these. I was angry because they destroyed the leaves of my beautiful Passion Flower vine just as it was preparing to bloom - they ate the buds too. I hope they don't attack again because I love butterflies but I love my vine too. I did see some of these butterflies visiting my vine but thought they were seeking blooms to drink from. Had no idea their babies were eating my vine.

Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar
by: St. Johns, Florida

I also have the Gulf Fritillary caterpillars on my passion vine. They defoliate it (usually twice a year during the Spring and
Summer), but my vine regrows very rapidly and I consider it a small sacrifice for the host of beautiful butterflies that result from that. It is so much fun to watch the caterpillars cocoon up and hang off the railing of my porch, my flower pots, and various other surfaces around my home. I try to time them closely in an attempt to catch the butterflies emerging and taking their first flight. Mother Nature is a wonderful thing! Please reconsider destroying the caterpillars.

Note: I didn't have quite as many butterflies last year, but had lots of wasps/bees. I would watch the butterflies lay their tiny eggs on the passion vine, then observe the bees come right behind them and eat the eggs. I wouldn't consider harming the bees either. Mother Nature is far smarter than I.

Annoying!
by: Jan, Central Florida

Just found these caterpillars that have totally eaten up my Desert Rose plant, and have now started on my rose bushes!!! They have eaten all of the leaves off of both! Nothing left but bare stalks! Walked around the house, and found several climbing up the outside walls, are they going up to build cocoons somewhere?? Should I be worried about the integrity of my house?! They may turn into beautiful butterflies eventually, but I'm gonna try to Sevin dust!! They MUST go!

Um it's purple and orange not black
by: Cautiouscutie

It is passion fruit specific. They are picky only like to chomp on their vine. Their spikes are black most of time in one stage look almost silver. And they come out the pretty orange with black & white spots.

Gulf fritillary
by: Moni

Jan, Central FL
Not sure which plant the desert rose is that you commented about, however, the gulf fritillary butterfly caterpillars only eat plants that are passion fruits.

Caterpillars that eat plants do not eat houses...not sure what you are talking about. And cocoons are the resting stage of an insect...a stage that does not feed or move. It is the stage before turning into a harmless butterfly.

Please do not use Sevin on any flowering plant as it is a non-selective insecticide...it kills all insects including the Good Bugs!

Please send a photo of your 'Desert Rose' caterpillar so we can help identify it.

Keep them!!! :)
by: Anonymous

I had a passion flower and watched a butterfly lay the eggs. Later,I found lots of these little guys on the plant. I collected a few after looking them up online. Put them in a container with a lid and air holes. I don't remember how long I waited but I kept feeding them passion flower leaves. Eventually I noticed them climbing upwards. They got to the top,hung upside down,she'd their skin (?) and made a cocoon. When they emerged,they were pretty orange butterflies. Let their wings dry for a couple of hours then release. It was such a fun project and a great learning experience! :)


Good to know
by: Jeana From KY

Saw these (orange with black spikes) on our passion flower/fruit vine. Wanted to make sure they were the kind that to butterflies. I saw one the other day that looked like it was about to do its thing. Can't wait to see the butterflies in the spring. I dunno if the fruit will be salvageable or not. We transplanted it from the wild and haven't had it long so not sure what to expect. But thanks for the info!

Also on desert rose
by: Anonymous

I had them on my desert rose, too, and ate most of the leaves within a few days. Someone should tell these caterpillars that they're only supposed to eat Passion vines.

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Black Caterpillar with Yellow/Orange/Red Spots (Sphinx caterpillar)

by AC

The babies only have small yellow spots in contrast to their black body. As they grow bigger, the spots start to change to orange, then red, while white spots form along the entire length of their body. They primarily feed on balsam plants, very rarely would they eat other plants. They have really huge appetite (they can practically finish off the whole plant individually) when close to mature, so I constantly plant more balsams to keep their food source growing. I believe they turn into small orange moths but I'm not entirely sure?

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Sphinx caterpillar
by: Moni

AC
Your caterpillar is a sphinx caterpillar based on the tail. It looks like a white-lined sphinx caterpillar except yours has a black tail and head and the spots are not quite right. You have given a great description of the stages of this caterpillar, but I have not found one to match. Please help provide some more information.

What size are your caterpillars? Where are you located? Is this caterpillar in your garden now - Sept 2010? Do you have a photo of the orange moths? Or a website of what it looks like?
Thanks for the additional input.

Thanks for the reply
by: AC

I've never really measured their size. I'm really bad at estimation, but I'll give it a go anyway, it's probably about 3 or 4 inches long?

I live around Houston, this picture was actually taken earlier before, probably around March - April. I've only seen the moths once, and unfortunately wasn't quick enough to grab a camera. I tried searching other websites before, but have no luck as well.

Thanks for your input, at least now I know it's under the Sphinx family!

imperial moth catapillar
by: E.W

I found one in my front yard and he's pretty cool. Thanks for all the info. It makes me less curious about this quite fat & harry big guy. He loves the pine pines I gave him so that is defiantly a recommendation to feed him.

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Big green hairy caterpillar (Imperial moth caterpillar)

by Lynn Hughes
(Conshohocken, PA USA)

About 4 inches long, green like a tomato hornworm, but weirdly fuzzy. Photo shows correct color and features, I hope. Back end had strange gold and tan protuberances. At least, I think it's the back.

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So what is it?
by: Anonymous

Does anyone know what it is?

Don't know what is but----
by: ev

It loves Moon flower plants.

Found it!!
by: Anonymous

It's an Imperial Moth.

Imperial moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Lynn
Yes, the photo is of the Imperial moth caterpillar.

These are found in eastern US, Ontario and Quebec.
This is one of the silkmoth (Saturniidae family) caterpillars...most get very large ... rather spectacular in color and size!

This caterpillar feeds on leaves of Bald Cypress, basswood, birch, cedar, elm, hickory, Honeylocust, maple, oak, pine, Sassafras, Sweetgum, sycamore, walnut.

Adult moths do not feed and do come to lights at night.


Read more here

I Found One In The Front Yard
by: Anonymous

I found one on a pine tree eating the needles!?!? Is it suppose to eat those? It is really funny to watch. (Yes, I did poke it with a stick not knowing if it was alive or not. Turn out it was and twitches as soon as anything touches the little hairs on it's body.)
Does anyone know if it's yellow-orange spikes will hurt you? Or if they are poisonous to touch?

Imperial moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Anonymous
As I wrote in the comment right below yours..."This caterpillar feeds on leaves of Bald Cypress, basswood, birch, cedar, elm, hickory, Honeylocust, maple, oak, pine, Sassafras, Sweetgum, sycamore, walnut." So yes, they do eat pine.
I have handled these caterpillars without any problem from the yellow spikes. They are not known to be poisonous...but it never hurts to handle any caterpillar with care.
Some folks are allergic to various hairs or other contact with some insects so if you have sensitive skin then do not handle them.

Thanks for the ID
by: A. Newton

I found this same white haired green tomato like worm in my Redbud tree last Sunday. It reminds me of a tomato worm but bigger and has white hair all over and boy is it weird looking!

Thanks for identifying it as the Imperial Moth Caterpiller.
Centerpoint, Indiana
9-14-2014

catapillars
by:

thank you so much I found on in my front yard and I really wanted to know what it was this website helped a lot at first it scared me so I didn't know what to do so thanks again!!!!

Founded one last week
by: Anonymous

Found one last week in my back yard in St Louis, Missouri!
I've never seen one before. It was almost the same langth as my hand and about as round as a nickle. I put it in my garden (it was done producing) thinking it would find a place it would like to settle for the winter.

I also put an all white caterpillar with white hair in the garden. Does anyone know what it might be?

I also put a little brown toad in my garden. Does anyone know if they eat caterpillars? If they do I hope they don't meet!m


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Yellow black caterpillar (Spotted tussock moth caterpillar)

by Mike Scalora
(Salt Lake City, UT)

Yellow, Back, White Spikes

Yellow, Back, White Spikes

I saw this at about 9000 ft in Broads Fork canyon in Utah near Salt Lake City

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Spotted tussock moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Mike
You found a caterpillar of the Spotted tussock moth.

Tussock caterpillars have the tufts like you see on this one...the hairs usually vary in length.
This caterpillar is found across western North America as well as some eastern Appalachian states.

The caterpillar feeds on foliage of a wide number of shrubs and trees including birches, maples, oaks, poplars, willows and alders. There is one generation per year.

They overwinter in the pupal stage so this caterpillar is probably close to pupation. They form a cocoon using silk and the hairs. The adults emerge in early summer.

how do i get rid of these ?
by: Anonymous

how do i get rid of them - off my plants ?
Will they kill my tree?

Missouri
by: Betsy

I found one on a tropical milkweed plant on September 11, 2016 in Kansas City, MO.

This is a "Woolly Bear" Isabella Tiger Moth
by: DeAnne Jensen

I found one of these in our backyard and was curious of the species but I found different identifications for the same caterpillar so I checked the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America book by Eric R. Eaton and Kenn Kaufman and I found that it is in fact a "Woolly Bear" or "Black-ended Bear" larva for the Isabella Tiger Moth (Pyrrharctia Isabella.

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Brownish black with blue and yellow dots (Western Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar)

by Mandy Bagley
(Logan, UT)

Found in Cub River, ID

Found in Cub River, ID

Found in Cub River, ID

My son found this little guy while we were up camping in Cub River, ID it is about 15 miles north of the UT border in Southeastern ID. He is very fasinating. It seems that he has eyes on top of his head which makes him look intelligent. He has sparse little hairs on the feet. On his back and sides he has yellow and blue dots that have a pattern to them. He was found on the forest floor in the middle of willow trees and maples. He has three sets of sharpe looking pinchers that he uses to climb up on branches. Then once on he sits back up like this. I would love to know what he is and what he will turn into. Thanks

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Western Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar
by: Moni

Mandy
Based on where you are located your caterpillar is a Western Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar.

They do look much like the Pales, Canadian and Eastern swallowtail caterpillars, however the "eye" has a larger pupil than some of the others and has a separate spot next to the eye.

This butterfly is found from the east side of the Rockies then to the west. There is one generation per year where you are.

The butterflies like to feed on nectar from many flowers. The caterpillars feed on leaves of cottonwood, birch, elm, willow, alder, sycamore, or aspen trees.

They overwinter as pupa/chrysalis.
Since your caterpillar is dark colored, this means it is about to pupate.

thought it was fake!
by: C Luna

Found one of these little guys in St George Utah yesterday, would love to see it change with my daughters!

Western tiger swallowtail caterpillar
by: Moni

C Luna
To keep it long enough to change you need to keep it in conditions it likes to pupate. So you need to provide food and something for it to attach the pupa or chrysalis to.
One good website for learning how to raise caterpillars is - prairiehaven(dot)com/?page_id=9862

It is hard to keep them overwinter and have them hatch next spring. Trying to keep the container in conditions like it is outside is challenging. Also sometimes the caterpillar has been stung by a parasitic wasp so you have a wasp emerge not a butterfly. That said if you want to try please do.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful insect with your daughter!

Strange little bug
by: Samantha Fury

I found one of these in Eastern Ky climbing up my back door I thought I had found an alien or something.

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large caterpillar with orange spike (white-lined sphinx moth caterpillar )

by L
(SW Virginia)

Large caterpillar with orange head, mostly black with some green, and tiny green spots. A very prominent orange spike on tail. Found on the ground, eating plantain leaves, in South Western Virginia. ( elevation, 2800' + )

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white-lined sphinx moth caterpillar
by: Moni

L
Your photo is of a white-lined sphinx moth caterpillar. Caterpillars of this moth do vary greatly in color, but like most sphinx caterpillars they have a 'horn' or tail on the rear end.

The moths do look a little like hummingbirds as they fly from flower to flower gathering nectar. The straw like mouthparts are long tubes for sucking up nectar...it is fun to see them do so.

This particular sphinx moth does fly during the day as well as at night.

While the moths do feed on nectar the caterpillars feed on a wide variety of plants like purslane, primrose, and plants in the rose family. They are not considered a pest of any crop.

This insect is found all over North America, Central America as well as Eurasia and Africa.





Hawaii
by: Anonymous

I found one in Hawaii, on the big Island. I have a photo too. Exact same species.

In Illinois
by: Anonymous

Found one in my garage this morning in Illinois. It was huge!!!

Sphinx caterpillar
by: Anonymous

The 2 I found had a single white line down the back and the length of their bodies. Kind of yellow orange feet.

Flock eaters
by: Brandon Harris

I have 3 of these funny looking caterpillars in my garden eating Flock today. The kids were a little afraid of them. We're in Byron Michigan.

San Angelo texas
by: Anonymous

Found one just like the picture crawling around on my apartments parking lot. October 17 2016. Nice sunny day.

Battery Park.. New Castle Delaware
by: Larry King

I found one of the while walking the trail in Old New Castle's Battery Park.. Bright yellow mostly black with huge horn..
Larry K.

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Hairy Black and orange (Salt Marsh Moth caterpillar)

by Virginia
(San Diego, CA USA)

Hairy Black and Orange

Hairy Black and Orange

Found on the stem of my climbing rose bush early September

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Salt Marsh Moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Virginia
Your caterpillar is a salt marsh caterpillar.

The caterpillars do vary a lot in color and look like several fall fuzzy caterpillars, but with a black face like yours, then you know it is a salt marsh.

These caterpillars feed in gardens, fields, meadows, roadsides, etc. They eat a wide variety of plants including garden plants, pigweed, mallow, alfalfa, soybeans, etc. They are not considered a pest.

The larva are found wandering in search of food, but in the fall it may be looking for a place to overwinter. Then in spring it will pupate and then turn into a white moth.


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Yellow caterpillar black stripe (Elm sawfly larva)

by Tom
(Pa)

About 1" to1 1/2" smooth yellow caterpillar with black stripe down the back.Found in central Maine. Don't know what it was on. Have been looking at a lot of pics but haven't found a match.

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Elm sawfly larva
by: Moni

Tom
Your 'caterpillar' is an elm sawfly larva.
The sawflies are actually wasps not flies or butterflies or moths so this is really not a true caterpillar but called a larva.

Bugguide says this about this larva
"The largest North American sawfly with larvae reaching almost two inches. Larvae are a yellowish-white color and possess a black dorsal stripe. While feeding, the larvae usually coil their posterior around a leaf or twig.

At rest the larvae roll into a characteristic tight coil. The larvae spin tough, papery cocoons in the litter or just below the surface of the soil. Pink coloration is not common, most larvae are green to yellow in color.

Larvae have chemical defenses, ejecting fluids from glands near spiracles; often coil hind end around twigs."

This larva feeds on foliage of elm as expected but also on birch,maple, plum, poplar, apple, willow,and basswood trees. After feeding the larva overwinter in tough papery cocoons then in spring it emerges as the adult wasp.

The adult wasp can chew small twigs to the point of breakage as they are feeding on the sap.

This insect is not considered a major pest but can damage trees or kill them if high infestations occur year after year.

Invasion
by: T.Grady

Found this date swarming on desert plants and in yards that border the open desert. I have lived here for more than 60 years and have never seen such caterpillars in the area nor have seen such a larger number of caterpillars. Hundreds as far as the eye could see.

Desert?
by: Anonymous

Found this same in Southern BC Canada.

Elm Sawfly Larva overwhelming
by: Carolyn

I have been out of the country the last 3 years and while I was gone I lost many of my trees, maple, oak, and an assortment of nut and fruit trees. A Terminex inspector thought beetles killed my trees, but I am seeing hundreds of these larvae and the wasps are worse than they have ever been. This website was very helpful in identifying what this caterpillar or larva was. I am not sure what I will do to get the population down as I have a lot of birds that I don't want to harm. I am in central TX, just north of Austin, but our winter and spring has been unusually wet for the past couple of years. It has rained for weeks on end, and it barely gets dry enough to mow after the grass is over a foot tall. Not sure if that impacted the explosion of these characters.

Elm sawfly larvae
by: Moni

Carolyn
While the elm sawfly larvae can feed on a wide range of trees, to have high populations for 3 years to cause many trees to die does not seem that this is the only pest feeding on your trees?

Are these small sapling trees? Then maybe. But if they are large shade trees, there have to be other things going on.

Now that you are home and can keep an eye on the trees and the insect populations. It would be good if you find feeding damage, damaged leaves, and or other insects to collect samples and send them to be identified thru your local extension service.

Because of your weather and the fact that so many trees are effected, it might be good to have a certified arborist to look at your trees.

There are a few beneficial insects that feed on the elm sawfly - including an egg parasite, Trichogramma minutum, a very tiny type of wasp: a large ichneumon wasp, Opheltes glaucopterus barberi, is an internal parasite of the sawfly larva: and a sarcophagid fly, Boettcheria cimbicis has been reared from the pupal cocoons of the Elm Sawfly.

Hope now that you are there you can figure out what is going on and save your trees.

Elm Sawfly Larva
by: Joy Blerg

Wow!! I didn't know that a caterpillar could be a wasp!!

Found
by: Shannon

Found one in Eastern Ontario

Found
by: Danielle

Found one in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, Canada

Elm sawfly larva
by: Anonymous

I have lots of them on my willow tree, this is the 2nd yr I've had them. Is there any way to get rid of them so my tree doesn't die, or won't they kill my tree?

2015.0915 Petersburg, Alaska
by: Suzanne Wood

Walking down our gravel driveway spotted this bright yellow with a black stripe on back caterpillar. Through your site was able to identify this as an Elm Sawfly Larva. Peculiar find as we live in the Southeast Alaska Rainforest, a temperate rainforest including the Tongass. We do have wasps but don't know if this caterpillar is related. Great site--thank you!

Yellow caterpiller
by: Anonymous

Just saw caterpiller with black stripe in our yard in PA.

Elm Sawfly Larva
by: Virgi

I live 100 miles south of Austin, Texas. I have
two elm trees. They seem to be found only on one
tree, although the trees are not that far apart. Their branches touch.

sawfly larva.
by: Anonymcharlieous

I walked out my greenhouse door this morning in Maine as a bird flew out of my grapevines just above me & dropped something that landed at my feet. It looked like a strange fat yellow button. I went to get my glasses to take a better look & when I got back out there it was a yellow caterpillar stretched out crawling away. I'm not sure what type of bird it was as it flew away before I could see, but maybe the bird didn't drop it, maybe the bird knocked it out of my birch tree close to my grapevines ? I also didn't know about that wasp but we've had many different types around here. I used to get stung alot by yellow jackets & hornets..so much so that I built up a tolerance to being stung.But I'm not going to like dealing with these sawfly wasps! Do they sting? If they can saw trees down can you imagine being stung by a bunch of them?!

found a bunch
by: Michael

Have found a few in northern BC outside of 100 Mile House. Seems odd since we already have frost at night. Definitely the exact markings though. Any pictures as an adult?

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Black Caterpillar (Noctuid moth caterpillar)

by AM
(North Port, FL, USA)

About 2 inches long - eating my basil plants on our lanai. Black with darker black spots w/yellow or whitish edges. Tried all sorts of identification guides and can't find it anywhere... In North Port, FL (SW FL)

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Noctuid moth caterpillar
by: Moni

AM
The photo is of one of the Noctuid moth caterpillars. As distinctive as it looks, many of the cutworms and armyworm caterpillars look very similar.

This worm looks like both the yellow striped armyworm and the large yellow underwing, as well as like the tobacco cutworm.

Larvae in this family feed on a wide variety of plants such as alfalfa, asparagus, bean, beet, cabbage, clover, corn, cotton, cucumber, grape, grass, jimsonweed, morning glory, onion, pea, peach, peanut, pokeweed, sweet potato, tobacco, tomato, turnip, wheat, watermelon, and wild onion. Now we can add basil. :-)

They live over most of North America.


Thanks
by: AM

Thanks - cutworm was suggested by others as well before I posted here.

Larval host For Black Noctuid Moth
by: Anonymous

Also found this on Chinese Tallow. Houston Texas

Houston, TX
by: James

Eating my basil and assorted peppers. Thanks for the identification.

Noctuid moth caterpillar
by: Moni

James
Sorry you have this pest on your basil and peppers.

help??
by: Casey

I found a caterpillar that looks extremely close to this eating our Japanese Lantern plant. We live in Lakeland Florida. My son & I want to watch it change into whatever. Is there anything special we should do?? Right now he or she is in a mason jar with air holes in the lid on our porch. We made it a nice little home with dirt, small plants, we put fresh leaves & small branchs/vines from our Japanese Lantern plant in every day. Is there anymore we should or shouldn't do??? Thank you! !!!

Noctuid moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Casey
It is great that you and your son are trying to rear this caterpillar (tho most folks consider it a real garden pest).
Depending on which species it is may change things a bit but for the most part it will feed until it gets cold (if you leave it outside). Then it may just go dormant for a while. Then as it warms up it will feed again, pupate then turn into the moth.

You need to put a cloth or paper towel over the jar top tied with a string or rubber band to keep any parasites from laying eggs on it. It may already be parasitized but you won't know until it does not change into a moth. Sometimes if it is already parasitized you get a wasp emerging from the pupa or even the larvae rather than a moth.

Since you are in FL and do not have 'winter', it is hard to say just how soon it will pupate and then emerge. Especially since we are not sure which caterpillar it is.

Hope that helps a bit.

Elm sawfly larva
by: Anonymous

NEVER HAD I SEEN ONE BUT FOR FIRST TIME 26/07/14 STRANGE , IN MY HOSTAS PLANT JUST LAYING THERE WHAT EXACTELY DO THEY DO OR TURN INTO?

Noctuid moth caterpillar
by: Moni

John and Rosie
Your caterpillar was roaming around looking for that soft soil so it could pupate. If you keep watching you will see it soon will turn a rusty brown semi-hard shell pupa. If you keep this pot where temps are similar to outside, then in the spring it should emerge into the adult moth. Since it is a small pot keeping it in an unheated garage or other protected area should be OK.

Most noctuid caterpillars will not eat milkweed. Monarchs have special digestion to be able to eat that plant. Milkweeds contain a toxin called cardenolides. The few insects that feed on milkweeds use that chemical to prevent predators from eating them.

If you take a photo of the moth in the spring and send it to us, we can hopefully tell you what your critter is ;)

Noctuid moth caterpillar
by: John and Rosie

Hi Moni,

I wish all a wonderful Thanksgiving day and pray that we will continue appreciate what we have.

The pot has been moved into the garage where the temperature ranges from 75 to 40 degrees. In Los Angeles it rarely freezes in the garage.

I am confused about the pupating process of this caterpillar. He has remained in the covered hole for about a month. Does this mean he is pupating in the ground? Or will he eventually emerge and form a shell pupa?

This is a fascinating process and we would like to follow it through. Are there any signs that we should look for to signal its emergence?

Thank you,
John and Rosie

Mr. Caterpillar, kindergarten class pet
by: Teri

I found a tiny version of this little guy on my purple basil. He has grown 10 times the size I found him in only a week! My students are fascinated by how much he can poop! We keep feeding him and although I've tried to give him regular basil, he is picky and will only eat purple. We hope he will make a chrysalis soon so they can see the rest of his life cycle!

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Orange Caterpillar W. Black Stripe & Dots (Elm sawfly larva)

by Lacey
(Albion, PA)

My brother found this caterpillar on the ground curled up in a ball. As you can see in the pictures, it has only 6 legs on itz underside. When we put a small piece of grass in front of it, the caterpillar grabbed it with itz 6 legs then used itz tail (like a monkey) to climb it. This is a very strange caterpillar...

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Elm sawfly larva
by: Moni

Lacey
Your brother found an elm sawfly larva.

The sawflies are actually wasps not flies or butterflies or moths so this is really not a true caterpillar but called a larva.

Bugguide says the orangish/pinkish coloration is not common. :-) Here is what it says about this larva

"The largest North American sawfly with larvae reaching almost two inches. Larvae are a yellowish-white color and possess a black dorsal stripe. While feeding, the larvae usually coil their posterior around a leaf or twig. At rest the larvae roll into a characteristic tight coil. The larvae spin tough, papery cocoons in the litter or just below the surface of the soil.

Pink coloration is not common, most larvae are green to yellow in color. Larvae have chemical defenses, ejecting fluids from glands near spiracles; often coil hind end around twigs."

So, you can see this is typical movement by this insect...you found an interesting critter!! Thanks for sharing!

This larva feeds on foliage of elm as expected but also on birch,maple, plum, poplar, apple, willow,and basswood trees. After feeding the larva overwinter in tough papery cocoons then in spring it emerges as the adult wasp.

The adult wasp can chew small twigs to the point of breakage as they are feeding on the sap.

This insect is not considered a major pest but can damage trees or kill them if high infestations occur year after year.

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orange Caterpillar (Luna moth caterpillar)

by Ardie
(Lead Hill AR USA)

Beautiful, almost translucent, caterpillar was crawling on a piece of driftwood on my patio.

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Luna moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Ardie
With your great photo of the caterpillar showing the head and rear, it is a Luna moth caterpillar. The Luna and Polyphemus caterpillars can look similar at this late stage of development, but seeing the rear markings helps with the ID.

This caterpillar is the orangish brown color because it is about to pupate. It is heading to make a cocoon in leaf litter.

The beautiful moths do not eat. The caterpillars eat foliage of a wide variety of trees including birch, persimmon, sweet gum, hickory, walnut, and pecans. The caterpillars eat enough to keep the moth flying for its short life to reproduce.

This insect is found over eastern North America from Nova Scotia west Saskatchewan and to eastern N Dakota south to eastern TX then east.

Thanks Moni
by: Ardie

Thank you for the information. Someone else had suggested Luna to me but I'd only seen them green. I was able to keep one over winter once and had the joy of seeing it emerge. I released it as soon as it was dry.

Wow!
by: Melissa

Beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing as I've never seen the caterpillar before

Awesome
by: Rob

Wow! Found an orangey/brown one in the back yard. Put it in a big vase to show my daughters after their nap. It had already started to pupate by the time I showed them. I've known the big green ones to be the Luna Moth, but was confused about this one. Makes sense now!

what to expect next
by: Anonymous

Im at the foot of the mountain in Dayton TN. Im surrounded by alot of trees and this was the first time ive ever found one of these. I put it in a tank. And the next day it had made some kind of cacoon. What do I expect next.

have been looking for this description
by: Anonymous

Are these common in Southern Indiana? Have found one a few years ago. Me and my daughter found one but relocated it due to a whole bunch of kids around and didn't what it to get hurt. We were highly fascinated with the size and color.

Luna moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Southern IN
Yes, they are somewhat common in southern IN.
Most folks do not see them very often but they are certainly around. You have to be in a wooded area to find them.
So cool you found it.
Glad you put it away from little feet that could smash it!

Hope you get to see the moth in the spring.

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Black & white caterpillar with yellow/orange legs (Dogwood sawfly)

by Kristine
(Cohoctah, Michigan)

Caterpillar

Caterpillar

Black & white caterpillar with yellow/orange legs. Found it crawling on some clothes that I had hanging on the clothes line, assuming it came down from a tree. There is no hair on this caterpillar.

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Dogwood sawfly
by: Moni

Kristine
This caterpillar is the larvae of the dogwood sawfly, which is in the wasp order of insects. You must have a dogwood tree or shrub nearby?

When the larvae are small they are covered with a white waxy coating then as they mature you see the colors like yours. They feed on all the different dogwoods and can cause significant defoliation. The larvae overwinter as pupa in rotting wood.

The adults are wasp-like sawflies that emerge in late spring to early summer. They then lay eggs on the undersides of the leaves. There is one generation per year.

For control if you only have a few you can hand pick and destroy the larva. They are controlled in nature by parasitic wasps. However, if damage to the plant foliage is to the point of defoliating the plant before the larvae size reaches 1" long then horticultural oil or insecticidal soap may be applied.

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black and yellow caterpiller (Black swallowtail caterpillar)

by George A. Zonders
(Westerville, Ohio)

This guy is eating my parsley. I'm guessing swallowtail? I have plenty of parsley so I'm not concerned, just want to know what I can do to protect it from predators?

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Don't kill him/her
by: George

I have no intention of killing these beautiful creatures and wish to protect them (there are 3 of them)! Any suggestions?

He/She
by: Lin

They will eat all they can eat "gorge" themselves until time to turn into their next stage. I have never had a problem with birds eating them, maybe because of their color? Also, I don't know where they go after they have stuffed themselves as they are very good at hiding themselves. I have had the most beautiful butterflies this year for some reason.

He/She
by: George

Thanks for your input Lin. I have plenty of parsley which re-seeded itself from last year so they can eat all they want!

Black swallowtail caterpillar
by: Moni

George
Dear fellow Westervillian (lived there for 12yrs ) your caterpillar will turn into a Black swallowtail butterfly as you thought.

This caterpillar feeds primarily on plants of the carrot family and some in the Rue Family . It is usually found on Dill, Parsley, Fennel, Carrot, and Rue in gardens, and Queen-Anne's-Lace, Poison Hemlock, and Lovage in the wild. (Monarchs only feed on milkweed plants).

The main reason birds do not bother this caterpillar is because it will stick out smelly orange "horns" to prevent predators or us from picking them up. It is possible for caterpillars to be parasitized by flies and wasps, however I have not seen too many of this species affected like that.

It overwinters as a pupa/chrysalis, so once these have finished eating they will be spending the winter in your garden on the plants they attach to.

The adult butterfly is black with yellow spots for the male and yellow with blue spots for the female. They are a common garden butterfly. They are found in eastern North America, also southwestern United States, and south to northern South America.

Black Swallowtail Caterpiller
by: George

Thank you Moni - your input was quite informative and I enjoyed learning more about my future butterflies!

Sorry,
by: Lin

I was trying to apolgize to George about the caterpillar that I told him wrong, because someone else told me the wrong one. I didn't mean to mislead you.

Protection for caterpillars
by: Mary Oppman

We plant parsley and fennel every year for the black swallowtails, once we've seen the butterfly lay eggs, we put a screened cage over it to protect them...then sit back watch them mature and turn into chrysalis....so amazing...we never tire of it.

Black swallowtail caterpillers
by: Rose

Just found 3 black swallowtail caterpillers on my parsley plant. I did some research on google and bought a habitat fixed it up for them and they are happily munching away on the parsley I put in there for them. I also included some branches on a steep angle. So far so good...It's been 3 days and they are doing what they are supposed to do. I can't wait for the next stage. I hope I get butterflies. I will let them go and start the cycle again.

Ummm
by: ZC

I saw one exactly like a swallowtail but when I touched it orange antennes came out of it's head and then went back in again. Is that still a swallowtail or is it a different one?

BLACK SWALLOWTAIL CATERPILLAR
by: Moni

ZC
Yes that is the black swallowtail...as I mentioned below...
The main reason birds do not bother this caterpillar is because it will stick out smelly orange "horns" to prevent predators or us from picking them up.


Black swallowtail caterpillars
by: Sharon G.

Can a black swallowtail caterpillar stay all black with yellow spots? I have a habitat that they are in and all have turned that green color with blake and yellow spots, but I have one that is all black with yellow spots.

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Spikey green worm (Imperial moth caterpillar)

by S Smith
(Upstate NY)

spikey green worm-1

spikey green worm-1

spikey green worm-1 spikey green worm-2

Found in Adirondack foothills, northern New York, on woodland trail. About 3 inches long. A hard shell covered with protruding white spikes and long white hairs. Also covered with white spots, some rimmed with bright blue. Yellow/black finely polka-dotted head/tail; one end with horn-like pincers. Yellow legs.

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Imperial moth caterpillar
by: Moni

S Smith
Your photo is of the Imperial moth caterpillar.

These are found in eastern US, Ontario and Quebec.
This is one of the silkmoth (Saturniidae family) caterpillars...most get very large ... rather spectacular in color and size!

There are two color forms of caterpillars the green ones and the orangish brown ones.

This caterpillar feeds on leaves of bald cypress, basswood, birch, cedar, elm, hickory, honeylocust, maple, oak, pine, sassafras, sweetgum, sycamore, and walnut.

It s interesting to note that adults emerge before sunrise and mate after midnight the next day. Adult moths do not feed. Moths do come to lights at night.

Thank you for ID and info
by: S Smith

Thanks so much for identification and additional information.

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hairy caterpillar (Salt Marsh Moth caterpillar)

by bret
(little rock, arkansas)

black body with red&yellow spots. Dense red and black hairs. about 50mm long

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Salt Marsh Moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Bret
Your caterpillar is a Salt March moth caterpillar.

They turn into white moths with black dots on the wings and with orange abdomens. The male moths have colored hind wings while the female hind wings are usually white.

The caterpillars come in various colors - whitish to brown to black, with long bristly hairs.

Larvae feed on many mostly weedy plants including pigweed, ground cherry and mallow, plus crops such as alfalfa, asparagus, bean, beet, cabbage, carrot, celery, clover, corn, cotton, lettuce, onion, pea, potato, soybean, tobacco, tomato, and turnip.

They are not considered a pest.

Thanks for the info!
by: Bret

Thanks for the information. I was hoping that it wasn't just another wooly bear.

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Yellow hairless caterpillar with white and black spots (Chain-dotted geometer caterpillar)

by Bradley Davis
(Alfred, New York)

Yellow hairless caterpillar with white and black spots

Yellow hairless caterpillar with white and black spots

It is a yellow hairless caterpillar with white and black spots. It was found on a Sun Dew plant in a small bog, but it seemed lost : )

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Catterpilar identification
by: Bradley Davis (Photographer)

I have finally learned that this caterpillar is the:

Chain-dotted Geometer, Cingilia catenaria

Apparently it is often found on bogs as I found it. It is a boom or bust species.

Chain-dotted geometer caterpillar
by: Moni

Bradley
Yes,great ID'ing!! It is a Chain-dotted geometer moth caterpillar.

This is one of the 'inch worms'.

It is found in bogs, barrens, heathlands, and woodlands from southern Canada to MD, OH, and KS. It is known to be found in healthy bogs. You are correct that the populations do ebb and flow. Tho generally they are waning in New England.

There is one generation per year.

This insect overwinters as an egg with larvae emerging in June then pupating in August for about a month before the moth lays eggs for the winter.

Larvae feed on a variety of trees and shrubs including alder, bayberry, birch, blueberry, bog laurel, cranberry, fir, huckleberry, leatherleaf, maple, oak, pine, poplar, sweetfern, sweet gale, tamarack, white cedar, and willow.

Larvae hang straight down from a twig during the day then feed in evening and night.

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green and black caterpillar (White-lined Sphinx caterpillar)

by Dolores
(Wisconsin)

large caterpillar

large caterpillar

about 3 inches long-green stripes with black on top and little orange dots on sides-one long orange "horn"

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White-lined Sphinx caterpillar
by: Moni

Dolores
Your photo is of a white-lined sphinx moth caterpillar.

Caterpillars of this moth do vary greatly in color, but like most sphinx caterpillars they have an orange 'horn' or tail on the rear end.

The moths look a little like hummingbirds as they fly from flower to flower gathering nectar. The straw like mouthparts are long tubes for sucking up nectar...it is fun to see them do so.

This particular sphinx moth does fly during the day as well as at night.

While the moths do feed on nectar the caterpillars feed on a wide variety of plants like purslane, primrose, and plants in the rose family. They are not considered a pest of any crop.

This insect is found all over North America, Central America as well as Eurasia and Africa.

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Green headed, banded caterpillar (Polyphemus Moth caterpillar)

by Sophia
(Maine)

We found this caterpillar crossing a trail towards the bottom of Mount Megunticook in Camden, Maine. It was quite large (approx 3-4 inches) and fat. We've searched for it on numerous web sites and can't seem to identify it. Can you help?

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Polyphemus Moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Sophia
From the size of the caterpillar and the dark head I am going to guess this is a Polyphemus caterpillar.

The photo is not clear enough to be sure, but there are not many caterpillars that size with those characteristics.

This is one of the large silkworm moths - family Saturniidae.

The dark coloration would mean that it is heading to pupate. The cocoons are either spun on the tree of the host plant or in leaf litter under the tree. Perhaps in ME it is time to overwinter as a cocoon.

The larva feed on many deciduous trees and shrubs including oak, as well as birch, hickory, maple, willow, grape and roses. Moths do not feed.

This insect is found thru out North America except Newfoundland. It is a very common Saturniid moth.

Thank you!
by: Sophia

Thank you for identifying our caterpillar. I liked learning about it. I will look for more next we go for a hike. I will send the link to the rest of my family so that they can use it. Thanks again! -- Sophia

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green caterpillar with red and black spots (White-lined Sphinx caterpillar)

by Pam
(Lincoln, Nebraska)

it appears to have two little 'fangs' and a spiked tail, it's about 4 inches long and it was found in our dead grass by the mailbox

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re
by: Anonymous

Looks like a hornworm, they turn to Sphinx Moths, that species looks pretty neat.

White-lined Sphinx caterpillar
by: Moni

Pam
Your photo is of a white-lined sphinx moth caterpillar. Caterpillars of this moth do vary greatly in color, but like most sphinx caterpillars they have a 'horn' or tail on the rear end.

The moths do look a little like hummingbirds as they fly from flower to flower gathering nectar. The straw like mouthparts are long tubes for sucking up nectar...it is fun to see them do so. This particular sphinx moth does fly during the day as well as at night.

While the moths do feed on nectar the caterpillars feed on a wide variety of plants like purslane, primrose, and plants in the rose family. They are not considered a pest of any crop.
This insect is found all over North America, Central America as well as Eurasia and Africa.


Here are photos of the moth and range of caterpillar colors. http://bugguide.net/node/view/3071/bgimage



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Large Green Caterpillar with white stripes(Carolina sphinx or Tobacco hornworm)

by Vickie Niesley
(Fullerton, ca )

Large Green Caterpillar

Large Green Caterpillar

We found this Caterpillar on our tomato plant in Southern California today. It's approximately 3 inches long, with a horn on it's tail. It has white and black stripes.

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Carolina sphinx or Tobacco hornworm
by: Moni

Vickie
Your caterpillar is the Carolina sphinx or tobacco hornworm. It feeds on all of the solanaceous plants which include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers.
The adult moth is gray and has six pairs of yellow spots on its abdomen. The moth feeds on nectar of deep-throated flowers like honeysuckle, moonflower, or petunia.
This caterpillar has 7 angled white lines along the side while its relative the tomato hornworm has 8. The tobacco hornworm also has a red tail while the tomato hornworm has a black tail...seems like it should be the other way around!
There are 2 or more generations per year depending on location. They are found thru out North America.
They can be a pest of tomatoes, however there are parasitic wasps that lay eggs in them that keep them under control most of the time. If need be to control them, just pick off and smash or drop in soapy water.

Here are photos of the moth and larval stages - http://bugguide.net/node/view/3244/bgimage

HUGE!
by: C Robson

I noticed my pepper plants were appearing to be stripped and found one of these. Biggest worm I've had in my garden in 19 years. It even beats out the tomato hornworm

TOBACCO HORNWORM
by: Moni

C Robson
you must have fed it well...tomato hornworms are usually the same size as tobacco hornworms...they are closely related.

tomato hornworm infestation
by: Mid coast Maine

Tobacco or Tomato Hornworm
If you have one you will soon have a lot more and they are not good for a fruitful harvest.

We found one on a tomato plant and asked the neighboring botany professor about it. He did not recognize it and said. "its okay, I'll let it go across the road." A couple days later we had a ten gallon pail full of them on a small tomato patch of a dozen or two plants. It was not "okay".

Tobacco hornworm
by: Moni

Mid coast Maine
If your caterpillar had a red tail it was the tobacco hornworm, if it was a black tail is the tomato hornworm.
If you find one, then it is highly probable that you will find more. Once the adult moth finds a good patch of tomatoes she is sure to lay several eggs. Next time you see one...keep looking for others.
The most common sign of them is stripped foliage and the dark droppings they leave after eating.

Glad you found them before they ate all your plants. :-)

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Large gray catapiller with eyes (Tersa Sphinx moth caterpillar)

by Liz Johnson
(Plano, TX USA)

I have two of these guys on my Penta. They are 3" long. Brownish gray with great looking "eyes" on the head followed by smaller eyes down each side. I am in N. Texas. I am thinking they are some kind of moth, maybe??

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Tersa Sphinx moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Liz
Yes, your caterpillar will become a moth...the tersa sphinx moth...a really cool moth!
This moth is found in the eastern part of North America into the southwest and south to Central America.
The moths feed flying at dusk on nectar from long tubular flowers. The males are sometimes found at lights at night but usually not the females.
Larvae love Pentas, but also feed on catalpa, Rubiaceae or madder family, Manettia sp., false buttonweed, and Heimia salicifolia - a loosestrife found in TX. These caterpillars can be green or brown. This is a large late instar larva that is ready to pupate. They head to leaf debris or loose soil to turn into cocoons for the winter.

Here are photos of the moth and other stages/colors of the caterpillar. http://bugguide.net/node/view/419/bgimage

large gray caterpillar w/ eyes
by: michelle

my two daughters just found a whole herd of these caterpillars in our backyard, 20 and counting. We live in ft worth and have planted bunches of pentas this year. I guess we will be seeing these huge moths soon? Everything I read says they are Tersa Sphinx moth caterpillars.

I just found this
by: Anonymous

I have one of these on my Penta in Citrus Springs Florida

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yellowish orange caterpillar (Virginia Creeper Sphinx caterpillar)

by David Lewis
(Gaylordsville, Ct.)

2" long, yellowish orange with pink body. Thought a type of Hornworm, but have been unable to ID. Found on grass in north western Connecticut on Oct 8th 2010.

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Virginia Creeper Sphinx caterpillar
by: Moni

David
Your caterpillar is a Virginia Creeper Sphinx. You are correct that it is in the hornworm family (Sphingidae). The moth also goes by the name Hog sphinx...what an uncolorful name for such a beautiful moth!
These are found in eastern thru central North America - from Nov Scotia to Manitoba then south to FL, west to NM. They live in wooded areas.
The moths fly at night feeding on nectar and are attracted to lights.
The caterpillars feed on grapes, Ampelopsis spp (peppervine, porcelain vine), Virginia creeper and Viburnums. There are 1-2 generations in the north and 2 or more in the southern states.
The brownish color of your caterpillar indicates that it is in the 5th instar or stage of development...it was heading to find a place to pupate in the soil.
Here are photos of moths and other stages of the caterpillar - http://bugguide.net/node/view/3568/bgimage?from=72

Here is another site with great photos and lifecycle info on this insect - http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/dmyron.htm

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black, brown, white caterpillar (Black zigzag caterpillar)

by Mary Doll
(Athens, GA, USA)

I found this caterpillar on a trail in the North Carolina Appalachians (near Robbinsville). The closest match seems to be a satin moth caterpillar but their tufts of hair and pattern look slightly different, and I don't think they are found in the US (seem to be mostly in Europe). Help!

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Unknown caterpillar
by: Moni

Mary
Yes, it does kind of look like the satin moth caterpillar....the best match of any I have found also. But, I am not convinced that is what it is. The tufts are not right as you say, and the side coloration is not the same either. Will keep looking.
Do you know what it was feeding on? What size is this caterpillar? Do you have a better side view or a view of its head?
Information on the satin moth follows -
The satin moth is found in the US. Mostly it is found in Canada from Ontario to Nova Scotia south to NW Conn and central NY over most of northeastern US. It was introduced from Europe in 1920.
The caterpillar of the satin moth feeds on poplar, willows and aspen trees. Tho it has been an invasive species in the past, there are many parasites and predators that now keep it in check for the most part. This caterpillar overwinters as a third instar under bark then finishes feeding the next spring.

More information
by: Mary

Hi Moni, thanks for the information and help! I will check to see if I have any clearer pictures of this caterpillar.

Unfortunately, I do not know what this caterpillar was feeding on, as I found it on the ground among some dead leaves and it did not appear to be actively eating any of them. It was about 1.5-2" long.

I found a better quality photo from a friend who was also on the hike. It's probably the best view of the head and side that I can offer. http://pick14.pick.uga.edu/mp/20p?see=I_EHCP5430&res=640

I wish I could offer more information, but at the time I didn't know that this caterpillar would be such a mystery! Thanks again for your help. -Mary

Caterpillar
by: Moni

Mary
We will keep looking to see if we can figure it out.
Thanks for the extra info.

Black zigzag caterpillar
by: Moni

Mary
With the help of a great taxonomist from Ohio State, I learned your caterpillar is called the black zigzag or tufted spruce caterpillar. It turns into a rather pretty black and white moth. The best ID is from moths because there is a lot of variation in the caterpillars.
It is common in the Smoky mountains, but not further south. It ranges from Canada south over the Great Lakes, west to Colorado and then south to Georgia.
The black zigzag lives in coniferous forests with the caterpillars eating fir, hemlock, larch , pine and spruce. They overwinter as pupae in leaf litter or soil. There are two generations in the Appalachians while only one north of there.
Here are photos of the moth - http://bugguide.net/node/view/24924/bgimage

Thanks!
by: Mary

Thank you Moni! I can't find very many pictures of the caterpillar online, so I doubt I would have ever figured it out without your help. :)



Thanks again!
Mary

Black zigzag caterpillar
by: Moni

Mary
Here is one site with a photo of the caterpillar - it is a side view so looks a little different but the tufts are in the same place. Also, Wagner's book on the Caterpillars of eastern North America shows a nice photo.
http://wiki.bugwood.org/Archive:Caterpillars/Panthea_acronyctoides

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Orange caterpillar with black feelers(Gulf fritillary)

by Jane
(Sarasota FL)

unknown ID

unknown ID

Many of these caterpillars are eating away on a Passion Plant.

We live in Sarasota FL.

I would really appreciate your help - I have tried finding information on my own and have failed.

Blessings to you - Jane

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Gulf fritillary
by: Moni

Jane
Your caterpillar that eats passion vines is the Gulf fritillary. They do feed on the various species of passion flower vines.
This is not considered a garden pest, but is enjoyed for the beautiful butterfly!

Since the larvae feed on passion flower vine they are poisonous if eaten...the bright orange color is a warning to predators - so birds avoid them! This insect is common in Florida and southern states as well as central America. However with the cultivation of passion vine, this insect has extended its range more northward.
Please leave it, so you can see the beautiful butterfly!
Here are photos of all stages -
http://bugguide.net/node/view/567/bgimage


Orange Caterpillar on Passion Flower Vines
by: Anonymous

I have seen the butterfly laying the eggs on my passion flower vines and I didn't find them all that beautiful. I used Sevin dust and killed them all.

Everything is beautiful in its own way
by: Jane

First thanks to Moni for all the work you put in to try and enlighten us. I for one, enjoy looking at all the photos of the insects. Your additional information and identification make me marvel even more at nature's variety and delicate balance.

I had hoped I was not alone. But I am appalled and saddened when I read that after you have explained and shown people the intricate and amazing life cycle of a butterfly they still choose not only to destroy it's eggs but to revel in telling us about it. It is not just the death of a few larva... it is the death of future generations of butterflies and perhaps the poisoning of the birds that feed on them as well.

Would it harm the appearance of our gardens so much that we begrudge sharing a few leaves from with our fellow travelers on this earth?

The world would be a colorless place, with no flowers or vegetables at all if we destroyed all of these wondrous creatures who have as much right to live as we humans do.

Observe what pesticides have done to bees and birds.

Why not enjoy instead of destroy?







Orange Caterpillar with Black Feelers
by: anonymous

Killing other forms of life upsets the balance of all life on earth and eventually we will do ourselves in unless people wake up.

Gulf fritillary
by: Moni

Jane and Anonymous
Thanks for your kind comments. Fortunately there are you folks that take care of our plants and critters...Thank you!
The more I read about the lost species of plants and insects..."Bringing Nature Home" by Doug Tallmay is one such book...the more concerned I am. However, it makes me more determined to do what I can...that is all any of us can control.

May your gardens, wildlife, and insects flourish!!

Orange Caterpillar with Black Feelers - now defunct
by: Jane

I admire what you do. I do not have your education in this field but it has always been a passion of mine.

I who love these creatures have never seen one of them laying their eggs. This very special event was revealed to a person who hopefully will come to realize how lucky they are.

Keep on keeping on, Moni. There are more of us out there for sure and your patience will be rewarded.

Thanks again. Jane

Passionvine
by: Anonymous

I anxiously await the arrival of these "pests" that so many are concerned with....send them my way....that's the reason I planted my passion vine!!

THREE LITTLE GULF FRITILLARY
by: SHEILA IN SC

9/4TH/2012AD I just found three of these on my brick lamp post with about a dozen empty cocoons hanging from the metal case of the light. The caterpillars were having a tough time driving to find their way off the high post so I helped them by getting them onto a small tree branch and lowering them to a grassy area. I'm so happy that I could find out what they are called and it'll be nice to see what they blossom into. All creatures big and small are God's gifts and are here for a purpose except maybe those annoying flies and cockroaches :O Hope the three little Fritillary caterpillars are having an adventure in my yard and will stay to show us their beauty : ) Sheila

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Bright Green Caterpillar (Copper Underwing moth caterpillar)

by Alysa
(North Mississippi)

Bright Green Caterpillar w/ Horizontal Yellow Stripes
and Hollowed Black Spots (that look like 0's.)
Roughly 2, 2-1/2cm.
Found making it's way across the patio.

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Copper Underwing moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Alysa
Your caterpillar is a Copper Underwing. It will turn into a moth.
Here are some photos of the moth should you see one later at your porch lights - http://bugguide.net/node/view/13299/bgimage?from=48
This insect is found in southern Canada and the US.
The caterpillars feed on a wide variety of trees and shrubs such as apple, basswood, hawthorn, maple, oak , walnut raspberry, and grapes. There is one generation per year. This insect overwinters as an egg with the larvae hatching in May and June.
The orange hind wing of the moth is rarely seen as it holds its forewings over the hindwings.

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Black and Red-Orange Striped Caterpillar (Salt Marsh Moth caterpillar)

by Katie
(Rancho Santa Fe, San Diego, CA)

They also seem to have tiny white dots on their skin that are sometimes hard to see.

They also seem to have tiny white dots on their skin that are sometimes hard to see.

They also seem to have tiny white dots on their skin that are sometimes hard to see.

I found these little hairy, 1-2 inch, black and reddish-orange striped caterpillars within a large, dry area of free-growing weeds. They are quite fast and agile if they decide to flee instead of curl up.
I kept a few at home, and have been feeding them drought-resistant plants (for example, Catnip Mint, Yellow Honeysuckle), and occasionally I will trek back up my neighborhood in San Diego, CA, and take a couple of the weeds from where they were found. If I don't have enough time to do either (which often is the case), I feed them lettuce or citrus leaves. Is this diet OK for these caterpillars? What is the proper food to feed them? How long do they stay in their caterpillar form, and when will they become a chrysalis and butterfly? What species are they and what butterfly will they turn into?
I know I am asking a lot of questions, so thank you SO much Moni for what you can answer. For weeks, I have been searching all over the internet for a site to answer my questions, but your site is the best. Thank you SO much for taking the time to create this website and to answer everyone's questions, Moni!

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caterpillars
by: Noelle

I would think lettuce would be fine - the caterpillars out here LOVE parsley and butterflies always lay eggs on mine. If you have some, might try that. I don't recognize the type of caterpillar you have there, but I'd think most tender leaves would be ok.

Salt Marsh Moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Katie
I believe you have salt marsh caterpillars. They do turn into moths. These fuzzy caterpillars come in several color variations. Here are the photos of the moths and various caterpillars - http://bugguide.net/node/view/3242/bgimage
The other fuzzy caterpillar that comes in several colors is the Virginian Tiger Moth, but I do not think that it is that one...Does yours have a black face? Then it is the salt marsh.
We will know for sure if you rear them to the adult moth.
These caterpillars can move very fast and they do have white spiracles...the holes in their sides where they breathe.
These are found over all of North America except Alaska. They are found in open meadows, fields, weedy areas, prairies, salt marshes and grasslands.
The larvae feed on a wide variety of weedy plants including pigweed, anglepod, sicklepod, dog fennel, ground cherry, and mallow, besides crops like alfalfa, beans, cabbage, carrots ,celery, clover, corn, lettuce onion, peas, potato, soybean, tomato, and turnip to name a few. They have rarely been seen on fruit tree foliage also.
They are not considered a pest.
There are 3-4 generations of this insect in the south. The caterpillars are known to be active, wandering around to find food.
We love such great questions. So good to know someone else likes insects like we do :-)
Thanks Noelle for your help!

NOW INFO FOR REARING CATERPILLARS -
Here is what I have written for others wanting to try to rear caterpillars in case you want to try.

- The rearing of caterpillars is a challenge. Mother Nature does it best. And just so you know ahead of time, when you find a caterpillar in the 'wild', sometimes they have been parasitized....meaning another insect like a fly or wasp has laid eggs inside the caterpillar. So when you try to rear the caterpillar, it dies from the eggs inside it - not something you can predict.

Here is a good site for rearing caterpillars...click on Raising.... on the right hand side to read the various suggestions. You can also submit questions These are folks that raise them regularly.
http://www.buglifecycle.com

With all that said the basics of rearing any insect is to feed it what it wants to eat...fresh (never sprayed with insecticides) food continually. Then, when the caterpillar stops eating...they will typically go searching for a place to pupate. It is best to provide layers of barely damp paper towels for the caterpillar to pupate in between. Then this needs to be kept someplace where the temperatures are much like outside. Then you let it emerge with the normal weather. Putting a stick in for the moth to climb up on. This is a brief description and may not be enough for rearing but gives you an idea.



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Grayish Blue With a Reddish Brown Stripe (Western tent caterpillar)

by Krista
(Las Vegas, NV)

My daughter found a bunch of these guys in all different sizes while hiking in the Redrock Mountains, just outside of Las Vegas, NV. There are alot of them populating the bushes with triangular shaped webs, sometimes ten or so webs on each bush. Can you tell us what they are and how we can take care of them. She brought some home with her and we dont want them to die. Thank You

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Grayish Blue with a Reddish Brown Stripe
by: Jane

Looks like Tent Caterpillar.

Western tent caterpillar
by: Moni

Krista
Jane is correct it is a tent caterpillar, a western tent caterpillar.
These feed on bitterbrush, red alder, and snowbrush and usually seen during May and June.
There seem to be some variations in this caterpillar - this blue version and the more yellow/orange version.
Here are photos of the moth and other stages.
http://bugguide.net/node/view/3824/bgimage

The other colored one can be seen at this Insect ID location -
Read more: http://www.simplegiftsfarm.com/black-and-orange-caterpillar-western-tent-caterpillar-comments.html#ixzz1KD76KY1T

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Caterpillar feeding (Burns' buckmoth caterpillar)

by David Salter
(Desert Hot Springs, CA)

This bristly caterpillar was found feeding on an Indigo Bush in Death Valley National Park. It is quite distinctive and I am hoping it will be an easy ID.

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Burns' buckmoth caterpillar
by: Moni

David
Your caterpillar is a Burns' buckmoth. It is in the Saturniidae family which is the silk moths.
The moth lays eggs in the fall, which then overwinter and hatch in February or March. The small caterpillars tend to stay together but then spread out. Full grown caterpillars wander around to find loose sandy soil or plant debris to pupae in.
These caterpillars feed on indigo bush as you saw as well as lonspine horsebrush, littlelieaf horsebrush, and desert almond.
The adult moths do not feed.
These insects are found in the Mojave Desert, southern Nevada, SW Utah, and NW AZ.
Interesting find! Thanks for sharing.

Tourist caterpillar visiting SC
by: Jo

I located this website while searching for the identification of a caterpillar which I found on one of my blueberry bushes. The picture of Burns' buckmoth caterpillar exactly matches the one I found. According to your id, this caterpillar shouldn't be anywhere near South Carolina! But it's here just the same. Thought you might like to know.

Burns' buckmoth caterpillar
by: Moni

Jo
Wish you had taken a photo so we would know what you saw. It is doubtful that it is the buckmoth caterpillar. There are several caterpillars that look similar that it could be. If you see it again, take a pic and send it in!
Thanks

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Black Hairy Caterpillar with Yellow Spots Down Back (Silver Spotted Tiger Moth caterpillar)

by jeeplassie
(Pollock Pines, Ca)

I live in the western Slope of Sierra Nevada mountain range, in Pollock Pines. We are at about 4000 ft. For the last few weeks, I have seen these caterpillars everywhere. I didn't really see them when it snowed, but now that the sun is out again I see them just everywhere. I have tried seeing what kind they are but cannot locate them. I think they are a moth? I want to keep one in a cage until it changes so my 3 yr old can experience it, but not sure what they eat. We have tons of pines here, mostly cedar but other types as well. Any ideas?

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Silver Spotted Tiger Moth
by: Anonymous

I live in Pollock Pines as well and wanted to know myself what kind of moths these little buggers turned into. last year I found out that they were (most likely)the Silver Spotted Tiger Moth. I had to Google search it again this year because I forgot the name and came across your page. Don't know when you posted it, but there you go. It feeds on Fir trees. I get all my bug info on Bugguide.net

Silver Spotted Tiger Moth caterpillar
by: Moni

jeeplassie
Well, the Silver Spotted Tiger Moth caterpillar does look similar...and may be the caterpillar you have. Tho your photo does not show the distinct black pencil markings on the photos I have found nor is it as light colored as all the other silver spotted caterpillar pics, but it is as close as I have found so far. Thanks for the tip - Anonymous.
Here are the bugguide photos - http://bugguide.net/node/view/43315/bgimage

If it is the silver spotted tiger caterpillar, it is found in forests of douglas firs tho will feed on other conifers. They are found in the western states.
According to bugguide - "Larvae feed from August until winter, at which time they spin webs for shelter and hibernate (they sometimes come out and feed on warm days, even as early as January). During the late spring they disperse throughout the tree for a short while, then in May and June find secluded places to pupate."
"Note of Caution: Like several kinds of wooly-bear-type caterpillars, these have venomous, stinging hairs, which can cause a burning sensation and/or a rash in sensitive people- look, but don't touch!
For this reason these may not be the best caterpillars to try to raise - Please handle with caution!!
Here is another website with a little info about this insect that may help raising it to the adult moth -
http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/eb1718/eb1718.html

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3.5-4 inch green caterpillar (Ceanothus Silkmoth)

by Travis
(Valley Center, Ca, USA)

This green caterpillar is about 3.5-4" long. Appears to have one set of legs at the end, 4 sets in the middle and another 2 sets up front (maybe?). Has 6 black/yellow balls (maybe eyes or sensors), and a little yellow pokey thing at its other end.

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Ceanothus Silkmoth
by: Moni

Travis
Your caterpillar is a Ceanothus Silkmoth larvae. It turns into a beautiful huge moth.
Here are photos of the moth and some of the other larval stages. This caterpillar looks different at different stages. The yellow and black balls are just spines on the back of the caterpillar and the yellow knob at the tail end is just that. It has 6 legs in front, then 4 sets of prolegs and then the rear 2 legs. http://bugguide.net/node/view/42242/bgimage?from=24
With the size of your caterpillar it is in the late stage and should start pupating soon.
This insect is found from British Columbia to western Montana, south through west coast states to Baja California. In California, it is found mostly west of the Sierras.
The caterpillar feeds on a number of trees and shrubs, including Red Alder, birch, Antelope Bitterbrush, buckthorn (Rhamnus), Buffaloberry, Ceanothus species, cherry, gooseberry, Hardhack, hazel, Madrone, manzanita, Mountain Mahogany, Mountain Maple, rose, Saskatoon Serviceberry, willow, and occasionally Douglas-fir.
Cool find!

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Black and white striped catapillar (Convict caterpillar)


(Miami, Florida)

1 3/4 -2",brown head and "false head", most of the black stripes have 3 white dots, found eating lily leaves

I have looked in my Florida butterfly/moth book and at pics on the internet with no luck. Thank you for your help.

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Convict caterpillar
by: Moni

Miami
The larva is called the convict caterpillar....see its images http://bugguide.net/node/view/26706/bgimage
They are found in southern Indiana to Long Island, south to Florida east to Texas as well as Central and South America.
The caterpillars feed on spider lily, amaryllis and narcissus as well as other plants in the iris and lily family and have also been reported on figs in the continental US. They live in wet locations like roadside ditches and wetlands.
Really neat looking caterpillar!
Thanks for submitting it!


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yellow fluffy red head black feathers (White-marked Tussock Moth caterpillar)

by Stephanie
(Hendersonville NC USA)

Alien Invader or what ?

Alien Invader or what ?

yellow fluffy red head black feathers - what the heck is this?

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White-marked Tussock Moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Stephanie
Your alien is a white-marked Tussock moth caterpillar. Cool shot of the head! If you had shown the rest of the body the tufts of hair on the back side may be white, gray or yellowish as you can see in the following pics.
Here are some pics of the adult and other stages of the caterpillar -
http://bugguide.net/node/view/521/bgimage

These are common in the eastern half of North America in wooded areas. They overwinter as eggs then emerge in spring, go thru several larval stages then turn into the moth. The female moth is flightless. Caterpillars feed on many hardwood or conifer trees.

CAUTION: Avoid handling the caterpillar, its hair is known to cause allergic reactions, especially in areas of the body with sensitive skin. If a severe reaction occurs, seek medical attention.

Tussock Moth Caterpillar
by: Anonymous

Tussock Moth Caterpillar, possibly whitemarked or pale, I'd guess!

Tussock Moth caterpillar
by: Anonymous

Spotted one in Northern Ontario near Sudbury, Ontario really interesting markings.

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Brown caterpillar with stripes (Achemon sphinx moth caterpillar)

by Michael
(Pearce, AZ)

Found on grapevines in Southeastern Arizona

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Achemon sphinx moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Michael
This is the Achemon Sphinx caterpillar. The caterpillars can be green or reddish brown.

They are found over most of the US and Mexico. The larvae do feed on grape leaves, Virginia creeper, and Ampelopsis (porcelain vine) plants. The caterpillars lose their tails in the last stage before it turns into a pupa. They pupate in the soil.
The adults feed on nectar from flowers. The adults can be seen at dusk feeding...looking kind of like hummingbirds.
Here are photos of adults and caterpillars of various stages. http://bugguide.net/node/view/20061/bgimage

Read more: http://www.simplegiftsfarm.com/five-inch-green-catepillar-achemon-sphinx-caterpillar-comments.html#ixzz1QiP1m6Uf

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Its kind like a worm (Spicebush swallowtail caterpillar)

by Loie Rexroad
(Hazard, Kentucky )

its Yellow and Black with big eyes and looks likes it smiling at you

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Spicebush swallowtail caterpillar
by: Moni

Loie
The photo is of a spicebush swallowtail caterpillar that is ready to pupate. Great photo!
The first three instars (larva stages) resemble bird droppings. The last two instars are green with large eyespots - the two largest on third thoracic segment have black "pupils", two smaller ones on first abdominal segment do not. The larva changes color to orange or yellow just prior to pupating.
This caterpillar feeds on spicebush, sassafras trees, Red, Swamp and Silk Bays; perhaps prickly ash , Tulip tree , Sweetbay , and Camphor.
Adult butterflies feed on nectar from Japanese honeysuckle, jewelweed, thistles, milkweed, azalea, dogbane, lantana, mimosa, and sweet pepperbush.

Adult swallowtails are large, black with some blue spots. They are found in deciduous woodlands, fields, roadsides, yards, pine barrens, wooded swamps, and parks
Caterpillars live in shelters of folded-over leaves and come out to feed at night.
Here are photos of the butterfly and other caterpillar stages. - http://bugguide.net/node/view/2648/bgimage

Read more: http://www.simplegiftsfarm.com/yellow-caterpillar-spicebush-swallowtail-caterpillar-comments.html#ixzz1RC707t9H

I found one too
by: Anonymous

I found one at a pond in a conservation park. I've been doing research and I couldn't find out what it was. It looks the same as the one in you picture could you please tell me where they live I will kepp checking back thanks

Spicebush swallowtail caterpillar
by: Moni

Anonymous
These insects are found in eastern North America...basically east of the Rockies.

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Light blue caterpillar (Abbott's sphinx moth caterpillar)

by Katherine
(Toronto, Ontario, canada)

Light blue caterpillar with orange/red lump found on side of the wall.

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Abbott's sphinx moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Katherine
Answered this when the website was down so forgot to go back and reenter the info :-)

Your photo is of Abbott's sphinx moth caterpillar. The tail usually indicates it is in the Sphingidae family. Yours is in the middle stage of development because of the distinct coloration. Here are photos of the moth and other larval stages - http://bugguide.net/node/view/4592/bgimage These are found thru out eastern and central North America in woodland type areas.
Caterpillars feed on feed on grape, Vitis and Ampelopsis spp of plants. Moths feed on nectar.


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Black Fuzzy Caterpillar with White Rings (Agreeable tiger moth caterpillar)

by Ethan Carlisle (age 9)
(McLean, VA)

We found a black fuzzy caterpillar with white rings in Northern Virginia. He has a white dot on his back behind each ring. He was running across a forest walking path and is about 1 inch long. He looks like a Giant Leopard Moth caterpillar but his rings are white instead of red and he does not seem quite as fat. He runs very fast when scared instead of curling into a ball. He is the fastest caterpillar I have ever seen. Can you tell me what he is?

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Black Fuzzy Caterpillar with White Rings
by: Miriam

Dear Ethan,
I searched all over the internet and did not find this exact caterpillar. However, there were many similar and they were all identified as a Tiger Moth Caterpillar. I think that is what you have. It was mentioned that the fuzzy "hair" can be irritating to skin, so be careful when handling it. I hope this is helpful.

Thank You
by: Ethan

Miriam,

Thank you for telling me what my caterpillar is. I have not touched him yet. It is good to know that I should not try to. We found out today that he likes to eat cabbage and cherry tree leaves. He did not like oak, maple, magnolia, crabapple or tomato leaves. Since I know what he will eat now, I am going to keep him until he turns into a moth.

Agreeable tiger moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Ethan
Your caterpillar is an Agreeable tiger moth caterpillar, so Miriam was correct that it was one of the tiger moths.
These are found in SW US and east to the Atlantic then up into Canada.
Caterpillars are general feeders on herbaceous plants, including dandelion, plantain, and pigweed. So if you are going to rear it those are a few things it might eat. Here is some information for rearing caterpillars - http://www.aprairiehaven.com/?page_id=9862. You can also submit questions - Which I would recommend for this insect. These are folks that raise caterpillars regularly. This site came from this website -
http://www.buglifecycle.com

Should you want to try to rear it - here is what I have written about rearing caterpillars......

The rearing of caterpillars is a challenge. Mother Nature does it best. And just so you know ahead of time, when you find a caterpillar in the 'wild', sometimes they have been parasitized ...meaning another insect like a fly or wasp has laid eggs inside the caterpillar. So when you try to rear the caterpillar, it dies from the eggs inside it - not something you can predict.
This caterpillar stage lasts about 35 days. And then overwinters in pupa stage...so you would not see the moth until next spring.

With all that said the basics of rearing any insect is to feed it what it wants to eat...fresh (never sprayed with insecticides) food continually. Then, when the caterpillar stops eating...they will typically go searching for a place to pupate.

Good luck with your project and send us a photo of the moth!

Thank you
by: Ethan

Thanks so much for your answer Moni. I found a picture on the Internet that looks just like my caterpillar. I did not know it will take him that long to become a moth. Hopefully he will live that long. I also found a picture of the moth he will turn into and it looks very nice.

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Greyish/Black Caterpillar (Buck moth caterpillar)

by Stephanie Davis
(Linden, VA, USA)

1. Grayish Black in color
2. What appears to be suction cups with hair like protrusions coming out in a fan like pattern from each suction cup.
3. Approximately 2-3 inches long.
4. Found in the woods on July 9, 2011 at 12:30 p.m. in Linden, VA 22642. Caterpillar was on the leaf debris on the ground in the woods.
5. Area is quite rocky, located in the Shenandoah Mountains, Elevation 1400 feet.
6. Weather was sunny, it had recently rained and it was approximately 78 degrees.
7. I picked up the caterpillar and moved it to a large boulder to photograph it.
8. Trees common to the area are maples, oaks, locust, dogwood.
9. The "suction cups" and the hair like protrusions coming out from them resemble Sea Anemones.

Thank you so much!!!

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Buck moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Stephanie
Your caterpillar is a Buck moth.
Glad you handled it carefully, because they are known for the spines to deliver a painful sting. But that is if mishandled or squeezed.
These are found in eastern North America in wooded areas. The caterpillars feed on oak especially Scrub oak. The later stages or instars are known to wander.
Here are photos of other larval stages and the moth - http://bugguide.net/node/view/471/bgimage

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Uknown Brown Caterpillar (Prominent caterpillar)

by Gina Larrow
(Middlebury, VT)

Sorry the picture is not of my caterpillar on its host plant but I didn't come across it, it came across me! I was sitting beneath my Black Walnut tree when this little one fell on top of me. About 1 inch long when fully extended, he had 3 beautiful yellow dots and the dark brown squarish-spot. The two points were the tail end, the large rounded end was his (or her) head. Could not locate the species in my Wagner North America guide and have scoured several websites. Would love your help.

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Prominent caterpillar
by: Moni

Gina
Your caterpillar is one of the prominent caterpillars, Family Notodontidae. Since you have a Wagner book then you are into looking at caterpillars. So from my research I think it is either a Oligocentria semirufescens - Red-washed Prominent - http://bugguide.net/node/view/11752/bgimage OR Schizura unicornis - Unicorn Caterpillar Moth- http://bugguide.net/node/view/28015/bgimage?from=24

You have seen this from several angles so perhaps you can tell which one. As caterpillars get close to pupation, which yours may be, they sometimes show a little color difference...so look especially at the location and shape of the protuberances.
If you click on 'Info' on each of those websites there will be a description of the larvae to help figure out which one.
My guess is it is the Unicorn caterpillar, but yours is not as green as the other photos on the website. That could be because of lighting for the photo or a caterpillar ready to pupate.

Bugguide is a good source to help ID insects. Let us know what you think it is :-)

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Black and yellow with red spots (Smartweed caterpillar)

by Elizabeth Woods erwoods@mtco.com
(Lafayette, IN, US)

The topmost end is the head, munching on a bit of peach.

I found this guy on a sunflower leaf at the farmer's market. Was happily munching on the leaf but seems to like peaches (the fibrous part of the flesh) even more. The underbelly is black while the top and sides are yellow with black patterning. Each section has several nodes from which several white hairs grow. The two topmost nodes of each section are red. Has four hairs on the head that are longer than the rest.

Thanks, I can't wait to find more out about this guy!

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Smartweed caterpillar
by: Moni

Elizabeth
Your caterpillar is the smartweed caterpillar, while the moth is called the Smeared Dagger moth.
The caterpillar colors can vary somewhat. These caterpillars feed on a wide variety of plants, shrubs, and trees. Therefore they are found in meadows, woodlands and nearby areas.
There would be one generation in northern IN.

The spines on this caterpillar may "sting" leaving some skin irritation if mishandled...be careful.

Purdue is my alma mater!! Go, Boilers!

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Brown caterpillar with black spots (Noctuid armyworm or cutworm)

by Ryan
(Tampa Bay Area)

Brown caterpillar with black wedge-shaped spots

Brown caterpillar with black wedge-shaped spots

Brown caterpillar with black wedge-shaped spots on its back. Was found feeding on our avocado tree. Small black droppings all around and chewed leaves. Found just north of Tampa, FL.

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Noctuid armyworm or cutworm
by: Moni

Ryan
The photo is of one of the Noctuid moth caterpillars. As distinctive as it looks, many of the cutworms and armyworm caterpillars look very similar.
This worm looks like both the yellow striped armyworm and the large yellow underwing, as well as like the tobacco cutworm.
Larvae in this family feed on a wide variety of plants such as alfalfa, asparagus, bean, beet, cabbage, clover, corn, cotton, cucumber, grape, grass, jimsonweed, morning glory, onion, pea, peach, peanut, pokeweed, sweet potato, tobacco, tomato, turnip, wheat, watermelon, and wild onion. Now we can add avocado. :-)
They live over most of North America.

Here are some photos on bugguide.net -
http://bugguide.net/node/view/9531/bgimage?from=24


Identified!
by: Ryan

Thanks! You can also add schefflera as one of the plants it dines on. This is the second time we have caught one of these caterpillars on our plants.

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Black/Red or Orange striped caterpillar (Gulf Fritillary )

by Kerry Johnson
(Livermore, CA)

Found 2 of these caterpillars on a passion flower vine in my backyard this morning. I live in Livermore, California (Northern CA). I have been seeing an orange/black butterfly fluttering around the passion flower vine for the last month or so. I thought it might be a Gulf Fritillary but not sure now. The caterpillars I have seen on several sites don't seem to look like the ones I have. Would love to know for sure. Thank you in advance for your ID Moni.

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Gulf Frittilary
by: Jane B

Amazingly Jim Conrad who writes a weekly newsletter (from the Yucatan at the moment) wrote about this caterpillar today!

Gulf Fritillary
by: Moni

Kerry
Jane nailed it. It is the Gulf fritillary. Thanks for all the info Jane!
Larvae are generally orange with black branched spines and greenish-black stripes, but yours is the purple striped variant found more in the western states.

Gulf Frittilary
by: Jane B

I tried to post a lengthy quote and some links from Naturalist Jim Conrad's newsletter which I received today. He had a picture very similar to yours from the Yucatan. He gave some great links. Maybe my comment was too long as it has not shown up yet. The difficulty with identifying this caterpillar is that it comes in a lot of varieties! Great picture by the way.

Gulf Fritillary
by: Kerry Johnson

Thank you Jane and Moni for your ID and valuable input regarding this caterpillar. I would love to read Jim's article about this butterfly but had a hard time finding it from the website's home page. I was able to view the butterfly from the links Jane provided and that is definitely what I saw. If you could post the link to the article that would be fantastic! By the way, just yesterday, I counted 7 of these caterpillars. I bet there are more but they are hidden in the passion flower jungle in my yard :) Thanks again to the both of you!

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green caterpillar with sharp tail (Ash sphinx moth caterpillar )

by Bill Melcher
(Portland, ME, USA)

Green with diagonal slashes and a sharp, pointed tail. 3" long, fat and healthy. Would make a very nice meal for some lucky predator. Found moving across grass under white ash tree in backyard of Portland, ME around 11:30a on a hot July day.

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Green Caterpillar
by: Anonymous

This is either a tomato or a tobacco hornworm-probably tomato. They turn into large moths called Sphinx Moths. Both are terrible pests in the garden.

Hornworms are Pests
by: Anonymous

If they have little white cocoons on their backs, leave them be, these are the larva of parasitic wasps that kill both the hornworms and the resulting moths.

Ash sphinx moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Bill
Your larvae is a hornworm which is in the Sphingid family of moths. The photos are not clear enough for a positive ID, but the ash sphinx moth caterpillar has a blue tail, so I think that is what you have.

This caterpillar is in the same genus as the tomato and tobacco hornworms but are NOT considered pests. This one eats some leaves on ash trees but do not cause damage to the tree. The moths feed on flower nectar. They are found in eastern US as far west as Missouri.
This site shows pics of the moth as well as caterpillars - http://bugguide.net/node/view/3772/bgimage

catepillar
by: Anonymous

think we saw one on a balloon flower in Beeton, Ontario - July 24, 2012

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Hairy caterpillar with thick white tufts (White-marked tussock caterpillar)

by Jim
(Hardwick, NJ)

About 2 1/2 inches long, green with moderate hair and red/orange eyes, wandering around under beech trees in the nearby woods. At first, I thought it was a caterpillar being attacked with wasp eggs, but upon looking at the photo, I noticed that what appeared to be "eggs" were actually thick tufts of hair, almost like brushes.

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Your caterpillar
by: DiAnne

hi
That is a White Marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar.
I found one about a month ago in Southwestern Ontario.
Unfortunately such an interesting caterpillar turns into a rather unattractive brown moth !
Thanks for sharing your find.

White-marked tussock caterpillar
by: Moni

Jim
DiAnne is correct, it is the white-marked tussock moth caterpillar.
Tussock moths are in the Lymantriidae family.
Some folks are allergic to the hairs so be careful around this caterpillar.
The female moths of this insect are wingless and therefore flightless. The males are brownish with distinct markings. To me they are rather interesting fluffy moths. Females lay eggs that overwinter. The caterpillars come out in the spring feeding on a wide range of trees including birch, black locust, cherry , elm, hackberry, hickory, oak, willow and many others.
This is a common caterpillar to see over eastern US to TX and Canada.

Here are some images of the moth
http://bugguide.net/node/view/521/bgimage


White-marked Tussock Moth caterpillar
by: Jim

Thank you so much for the ID! I now know NOT to use this caterpillar as a scrub brush :) Yes, VERY strange that such an interesting caterpillar morphs into such an uninteresting moth.

I think I have this guy too.
by: Kelly

I found a similar looking caterpiller by my mailbox in Holden Maine today (8-11-16). My guy has very long black eyelashes and a similarly long tail.

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Caterpillar eating crabapple leaves (Yellow-necked Caterpillar )

by Pat
(Northampton County, PA, USA)

crabapple eating caterpillar

crabapple eating caterpillar

crabapple eating caterpillar Turns upside to display orange when disturbed

This caterpillar is eating my crabapple leaves. It has a dark body with greenish-yellow striping, a black head and orange neck collar. It turns upside when disturbed, showing its orange underside. What kind of caterpillar is it?

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OMG
by: Anonymous

Aaiieeeeee! Stomp on 'em quick! Those look like gypsy moths!

Datana ministra (yellow necked caterpillar)
by: Pat

Datana ministra (yellow necked caterpillar)

Yellow-necked Caterpillar
by: Moni

Pat
Yes, they are the Yellow-necked caterpillar.
These are found in eastern North America. It is not known if the moth feeds...many moths do not.
The larvae feed on leaves of deciduous trees and shrubs and may be pests. I have had them on my apples and birch trees.
When you disturb them they curl the head and tail together to try and scare you away. They do move and feed in groups and can defoliate a large section of a tree. But do not kill the tree.
You can try to shake them off...many may be eaten by birds, some may find their way back on the tree but most will not. You can step on them when they land on the ground after shaking the tree.
If all that fails, the bacterial insecticide Bt controls caterpillars of moths and butterflies. Consult the label before spraying.

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Web worms on the OUTSIDE of a Web?( Walnut Caterpillar)

by Gayle Alley
(Pleasant Hill, Missouri)

Each is approx 1 inch long with a black head and a maroon & white lobed body. A sticky web-like material was underneath this mass of writhing beauties hanging on the side of a tree.

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Not Web Worms
by: Anonymous

I have not identified these but have had them on my walnut trees for several years.They feed on the leaves, mass migrate to the side of the tree to pupate and then hatch into adults.
Weird.

Walnut Caterpillar
by: Moni

Gayle
Your caterpillars are Walnut caterpillars.
These larvae do feed on hickories, pecan, and walnut. Trees can withstand 2 or 3 consecutive years of heavy defoliation before they die. Severe infestations do not occur very often. There are over 13 different parasites that keep this insect under control. So, unless the tree has had infestations for several years it is best to let Nature keep the population in check and not to treat.
This insect is found in eastern North America west to MN south into OK, TX and then Mexico.
There is one generation in the north and up to 3 in the south. During molting, larvae in the group usually congregate on the trunk of the tree. When they are ready to pupate they drop to the ground and burrow into the soil. So, they are not congregating to pupate but to molt. The walnut caterpillar overwinters as a pupa.

Here are photos of caterpillars and the moth - http://bugguide.net/node/view/3234/bgimage

Walnut Caterpillar
by: Stephanie Martinez

Oh my goodness that is the weirdest thing I've ever seen!!!!!

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yellow and black caterpiller (orange-tipped oakworm moth caterpillar)

by Keeta
(Toledo, Ohio)

I found hundreds of these along a trail in north-western Ohio. The one pictured is about 2 inches long, but there were some that were very small, only 3/4 of an inch or so.

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Was there an ARMY of them?
by: Stuart

There are plenty of controls for these pests, ranging from the natural (birds, lacewings, etc) through the sprays (sevin, malathion) to the overly dramatic (napalm).

but what is it?
by: Keeta

They were in a public park were there are lots of trails, so many of them had been killed by runners. I wasn't really concerned with how many there were. I just want to know what it is.

orange-tipped oakworm moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Keeta
Your caterpillar is the orange-tipped oakworm moth caterpillar.
This caterpillar is found widespread in eastern United States and parts of southern Canada.
According to bugguide.net, (the most up-to-date source of scientific names of insects) this insect may actually be three different species that can only be separated in the larvae stage. " Larval characteristics may give one an identification of the regional forms (Anisota senatoria, or peigleri, or finlaysoni), which may be separate species, or a cline (regional forms) "
With that said...the adult moths do not feed. The caterpillars feed on oaks as the name suggests :-), (tho some have been found to feed on water chestnuts and on laurel in the south). The larvae stay together in the early stages but spread out as they get larger. Populations can get to be a pest problem. But as you noted, it was in a public park so there is no need to worry about control.
Having lived in Toledo...was this found at Oak Openings?
Here are photos of the moth and other stages of the caterpillar - http://bugguide.net/node/view/5167/bgimage





THANKS
by: Keeta

Moni,
Thank you so much Moni! I searched online for a while but found nothing. Thanks for the link and great descriptions! I learned a lot. Oh and I actually took these pictures at Wildwood. Are you familiar with the area?

orange-tipped oakworm caterpillar
by: Moni

Keeta
We lived in Perrysburg so I did not visit Wildwood that I remember...it has been quite a few years.
There must be lots of oaks there to find this caterpillar. Glad we could figure out what it was.

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grey and blue caterpillar (Achemon Sphinx caterpillar )

by Rose
(Parker, CO)

Friend or Foe in the Garden?

Friend or Foe in the Garden?

My dog found this little friend crawling on the deck this morning here in Parker, Colorado. We would like to know what type of caterpillar it is. Any suggestions? About 3" - 3 1/2" long, brown with dark brown spots on its back & white markings on its sides with a black spot in the white area that look a bit like an eye. Not fuzzy and about 3/4" in width.

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Achemon Sphinx caterpillar
by: Moni

Rose
This is the Achemon Sphinx caterpillar. The caterpillars can be green or reddish brown.

They are found over most of the US and Mexico. The larvae do feed on grape leaves, Virginia creeper, and Ampelopsis (porcelain vine) plants. The caterpillars lose their tails in the last stage before it turns into a pupa. They pupate in the soil.
The adults feed on nectar from flowers. The adults can be seen at dusk feeding...looking kind of like hummingbirds.
Here are photos of adults and caterpillars of various stages. http://bugguide.net/node/view/20061/bgimage
Yours is large enough and without a tail it may be ready to pupate. :-)


Read more: http://www.simplegiftsfarm.com/brown-caterpillar-with-stripes-achemon-sphinx-moth-caterpillar-comments.html#ixzz1UklQ1U45

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caterpiller (Cinnabar moth caterpillar)

by Jody Picconi
(Otis, Oregon)

Orange and Black banded caterpiller

Orange and Black banded caterpiller

I live along the salmon river in Otis, Oregon. orange and black bands... some hairs, 1 1/2" in length

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Orange and Black Striped Caterpillar
by: Anonymous

It looks like a Cinnabar Moth caterpillar.

Cinnabar moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Jody
As Anonymous said it is the Cinnabar moth caterpillar. This insect was introduced from Europe as a control for the introduced weed - Ragwort, the host plant for its caterpillars, which is toxic to livestock. A good bug for our gardens!

This caterpillar feeds on Tansy ragwort (Senecio jacobaea). Other food plants are salt-marsh fleabane, hound's-tongue, hops and sow thistle.
These seem to be found in the NW corner of North America.
Interesting find! Thanks for sharing your great photo with us!

Here are photos of the moth and other stages of the caterpillar - http://bugguide.net/node/view/3823/bgimage

Cinnabar moth
by: Susan

As a kid I pulled a lot of tansy, difficult weed to control. I lived in Cinebar, Washington. So naturally when the Cinnabar moth was introduced I thought it was named for our little town. I took care to help those little guys strive as they destroyed the tansy and controlled it so well I never had to pull it again!

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Large green caterpillar with black and white horizontal stripe (Swallowtail caterpillar)

by Stephanie
(South Jordan, Utah)

My son Dallin found this caterpillar on one of our ash trees. It is a large (about 3 inches) green caterpillar with a black and white horizontal stripe across the top part of it's body. It also has light blue dots all over it. Has two yellow "eyes" and "horns" that come out occasionally. Thought it was a hornworm, but doesn't look like the pictures I have seen.

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Swallowtail caterpillar
by: Moni

Stephanie and Dallin,
The caterpillar Dallin found was a swallowtail butterfly caterpillar. There are several swallowtails that have caterpillars that look like it. Because of where you live and that it was feeding on ash it is probably the two-tailed swallowtail but could be the western tiger swallowtail, the eastern tiger swallowtail or the Pale tiger swallowtail.
Each of these caterpillars feed on various tree foliage but ash is actually listed for the two-tailed. The caterpillars look like bird droppings in the early stages then change to the green caterpillar like yours, then when the caterpillar is full grown and getting ready to pupate it turns brown.
Here is a website about the eastern tiger swallowtail that if you scroll down to "See Also" there are links to the others that look similar - http://bugguide.net/node/view/491

Here are photos of the two-tailed butterfly and larvae at different stages - http://bugguide.net/node/view/23914/bgimage


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red white and blue catarpillar (Brown hooded owlet moth caterpillar)

by Lettie Blackburn
(Cass County, Minnesota)

Found this patriotic red white and blue catarpillar munching on a golden rod.

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what is this?
by: Anonymous

can anyone tell me what this is!?

Brown hooded owlet moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Lettie
Your caterpillar is the Brown hooded owlet moth caterpillar.
These are found in North America east of the Rockies.
The caterpillar feeds on foliage and flowers of asters and goldenrod. The adult moth flight pikes in July and August.

Here are photos of the caterpillar and moth - http://bugguide.net/node/view/6725/bgimage

THANK YOU
by: Anonymous

Moni....thank you so much...he is much more beautiful as a catarpillar!

Brown hooded owlet moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Lettie
Agree with you on that! The hood of the moth is interesting but looks like some old brown moth, unlike the caterpillar.

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caterpillar lg (Imperial moth caterpillar )

by candy
(ontario/canada)

3 to 4 inches long fat brown hairless red spots and yellow spots prickly to touch what is it??

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Imperial moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Candy
Your photo is of the Imperial moth caterpillar.
These are found in eastern US, Ontario and Quebec.
This is one of the silkmoth (Saturniidae family) caterpillars...most get very large ... rather spectacular in color and size!
This caterpillar feeds on leaves of Bald Cypress, basswood, birch, cedar, elm, hickory, Honeylocust, maple, oak, pine, Sassafras, Sweetgum, sycamore, walnut. It may be heading to find a place in the soil to pupate for the winter.
Adult moths do not feed and do come to lights at night.

Here are some photos of the larva and moth so you can look for the moth next summer.
http://bugguide.net/node/view/4757/bgimage


Read more: http://www.simplegiftsfarm.com/5-inch-brown-caterpillar-imperial-moth-caterpillar-comments.html#ixzz1VZzZPYeH

Imperial moth
by: Anonymous

I just found one of these Imperial Moth Caterpillarson my patio, I live in Ia, so from what I just read, he is out of this region, I want to release him somewhere safe, my dogs are very interested in him, and I don't think a concrete patio is the best place for him, I don't know where he came from.

Imperial moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Anonymous from IA
They are common here in IA...I have found several the last few weeks here in SE IA.
It is probably heading to pupate, so it is best to either just let it crawl under a bush or else put it in a wooded area where it can crawl into the soil to pupate. In a wooded area then the moth will have trees to lay eggs on next summer. However if it is in your yard there must be some trees nearby that it has crawled from...they do not travel that far from their food source.
Great find! Thanks for taking care of it!

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large pale green caterpillar eating my grape leaves (Achemon sphinx moth caterpillar)

by Denice
(Fort Collins CO)

What's Eating Denice's Grape (leaves)?

What's Eating Denice's Grape (leaves)?

What's Eating Denice's Grape (leaves)?

5 inches long, 1/2 girth, flat 'face', no hairs or horns. Very very strong and able rear back and whips it's body forcefully. 6 white slanted bars on the side.

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Achemon sphinx moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Denice
This is the Achemon Sphinx caterpillar. The caterpillars can be green or reddish brown.

They are found over most of the US and Mexico. The larvae do feed on grape leaves, Virginia creeper, and Ampelopsis (porcelain vine) plants. The caterpillars lose their tails in the last stage before it turns into a pupa. They pupate in the soil.
The adults feed on nectar from flowers. The adults can be seen at dusk feeding...looking kind of like hummingbirds.
Here are photos of adults and caterpillars of various stages. http://bugguide.net/node/view/20061/bgimage

Read more: http://www.simplegiftsfarm.com/five-inch-green-catepillar-achemon-sphinx-caterpillar-comments.html#ixzz1VVE7Ot8e

A lively eater
by: Elaine

When I discovered him/her I took him and his leaf he was eating into the house and put him in a large canning jar, no top. To consult my books to identify him. I discovered I could hear him eating. I took a video of him, to share with my grandchildren, and it had recorded the sound as well.

Inspiration for the Grinch
by: Elaine

When enlarging his face I discovered I thought I recognized him. Try it!

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wispy yellow caterpiller (white-marked tussock caterpillar)

by Edward
(Warren, Ohio )

While enjoying coffee 8/23/11 met a friend...

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white-marked tussock caterpillar
by: Moni

Edward
It is the white-marked tussock moth caterpillar.
Tussock moths are in the Lymantriidae family.
Some folks are allergic to the hairs so be careful around this caterpillar.
The female moths of this insect are wingless and therefore flightless. The males are brownish with distinct markings. To me they are rather interesting fluffy moths. Females lay eggs that overwinter.

The caterpillars come out in the spring feeding on a wide range of trees including birch, black locust, cherry , elm, hackberry, hickory, oak, willow and many others.
This is a common caterpillar to see over eastern US to TX and Canada.

Here are some images of the moth
http://bugguide.net/node/view/521/bgimage



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Blue, Yellow and Black Caterpillar with spike (White-lined sphinx caterpillar)

by Wendy Baty
(Trufant, MI USA)

Caterpillar

Caterpillar

Blue/grey caterpillar with yellow stripes and black spots. Orange head and a yellow and black spike on the tail. Found in West Michigan on August 21.
I'm not sure what kind of plant it is on.

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White-lined sphinx caterpillar
by: Moni

Wendy
Your photo is of a white-lined sphinx moth caterpillar. Caterpillars of this moth do vary greatly in color, but like most sphinx caterpillars they have a 'horn' or tail on the rear end.
The moths look a little like hummingbirds as they fly from flower to flower gathering nectar. The straw like mouthparts are long tubes for sucking up nectar...it is fun to see them do so. This particular sphinx moth does fly during the day as well as at night.

While the moths do feed on nectar the caterpillars feed on a wide variety of plants like purslane, primrose, and plants in the rose family. They are not considered a pest of any crop.
This insect is found all over North America, Central America as well as Eurasia and Africa.

Here are photos of the moth and range of caterpillar colors. http://bugguide.net/node/view/3071/bgimage


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Black 3" caterpiller (Galium sphinx caterpillar)

by Robin Treffry
(Cambridge, Ontario, Canada)

Found in Cambridge, Ontario. Late August. Laying on ground plants, seemingly doing nothing. Black with yellow spots, red face and red tail, approximately 3" inches long.

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Galium sphinx caterpillar
by: Moni

Robin
Your caterpillar is the Galium sphinx moth caterpillar. Yours looks like it might be big enough that it is roaming to find a place to pupate.
Caterpillars of this moth do vary some in color, but like most sphinx caterpillars they have a 'horn' or tail on the rear end. This insects horn is either red or black.
The moths look a little like hummingbirds as they fly from flower to flower gathering nectar. The straw like mouthparts are long tubes for sucking up nectar...it is fun to see them do so. This particular sphinx moth does fly during the day as well as at night.

While the moths do feed on nectar the caterpillars feed on a wide variety of plants like willow-herb/Fireweed (Epilobium spp.), Bedstraw (Galium sp...hence the name), and other plants in the evening primrose family. They are not considered a pest of any crop.
This insect is found in the northern most areas of North America.

Here are photos of the moth and range of caterpillar colors. http://bugguide.net/node/view/31976/bgimage

Thank you
by: Robin

That is really cool! I have seen the moths before and they are beautiful and fun to watch, but I had no idea that that caterpillar would become one of them. Thank you so much for your help.
I searched for a long time trying to find something that looked similar to this guy, but with no luck.
Thanks again.

The Caterpiller of Ciccinnatus, New York
by: Eileen Ledger

I live in upstate New York. I found one of these worms today. I had never seen one before here. It was in my driveway and I thought if he was left there he would get run over so I gathered him up and took him over into the grass. I am amazed he made it this far south! He is a big guy though. And pretty in his own way. I wouldlike to see a picture of the moth he becomes.

Galium sphinx caterpillar
by: Moni

Eileen
As noted in my original comment -This insect is found in the northern most areas of North America. So you are not too far south.

Here are photos of the moth and range of caterpillar colors. http://bugguide.net/node/view/31976/bgimage


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Bright green caterpillar (Sphinx caterpillar )

by Peggy E
(St. Paul, MN)

Green caterpillar in Northern MN

Green caterpillar in Northern MN

I saw this beautiful smooth-skinned caterpillar in the woods of Northern Minnesota during the first week of August. It was just crawling across a sunny spot of ground. The closest images I've found are of various Sphinx moths. The biggest difference being that this guy was very smooth - in most photos I've seen of Sphinx moth caterpillars they are bumpy-skinned. It is about 3 inches long and as big around as my pinkie finger.
Can anyone tell me what it is? Thanks!

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Sphinx caterpillar
by: Moni

Peggy
Yes, you do have a sphinx caterpillar! This genus does have rather smooth caterpillars. There are several that look similar and without actually seeing the caterpillar I am not positive which one you have.
I am guessing you have either the Northern Apple sphinx -http://bugguide.net/node/view/41976/bgimage?from=24
Or the Clemens' sphinx - http://bugguide.net/node/view/24902/bgimage

These are both found in more northern parts of North America. These caterpillars both have the black stripe on the tail and a green head.
In both cases there is just one generation per year and it overwinters as a pupa in the soil. Moths of both feed on nectar.
Caterpillars of the Clements feed on apple, ash, northern bayberry, birch, poplar, willows and some other plants.
Caterpillars of the Northern Apple feed on leaves of apple, blueberry, meadowsweet , spruce, Sweet Gale, and tamarack. The Northern apple caterpillar is very closely related to the Apple sphinx...some put them as one species, so that is another possible name of your caterpillar :-).

Perhaps knowing the plants it feeds on will help with ID? If you know what plants were in that area?

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lime green caterpillar (Polyphemus moth caterpillar)

by Kathy Opalinski
(Elgin, IL)

about 3 1/2 inches long climbing on a Hawthorne tree in Chicago area 8/11

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Yucka - I've got those too!
by: Not fond of bugs...

Yeah, I pulled "FIVE" of those things out of my cilantro plant - they were nasty. Reminds me of the huge tomato worms my mother got on her tomato plants when I was a kid one year. I'm in Michigan.

Polyphemus moth caterpillar
by: Anonymous

Also known as a Cyclops moth.

Polyphemus moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Kathy
Yes, your photo is of the caterpillar of the Polyphemus moth. This is one of the large silkworm moths. According to bugguide.net these are found in all areas of North America except Newfoundland.
The larvae feed on many deciduous trees and shrubs including oak, birch, hickory, maple, willow, grape and roses. The adult moth does not feed. The cocoons are either spun on the tree of the host plant or in leaf litter under the tree. There is one generation in the north and two in the south.

Here are photos of adults, caterpillars and cocoons - http://bugguide.net/node/view/427/bgimage

NOTE to 'Not fond of bugs' - You do not have Polyphemus caterpillars feeding on your cilantro...these are huge caterpillars and they do not eat cilantro...you have some other critter.

Read more: http://www.simplegiftsfarm.com/big-fat-green-caterpillar-with-orange-spots-polyphemus-moth-caterpillar-comments.html#ixzz1VuXuHVgH

Thank you
by: Kathy

Moni, thanks for the info. I am glad to know what it was that I saw. It was similar to those huge worms that are found in the garden sometimes.

Moni - the were exactly like the photo.
by: Not fond of bugs

They didn't seem to be eating it but they were climbing all over in it.

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Strange yellow caterpillar (White-marked tussock moth caterpillar)

by Ian
(Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada)

Found in Southern Ontario near Lake Huron. None of us have seen anything like this before. Any help on identification - Moth??

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White-marked tussock moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Ian
It is the white-marked tussock moth caterpillar.
Tussock moths are in the Lymantriidae family.
Some folks are allergic to the hairs so be careful around this caterpillar.
The female moths of this insect are wingless and therefore flightless. The males are brownish with distinct markings. To me they are rather interesting fluffy moths. Females lay eggs that overwinter.

The caterpillars come out in the spring feeding on a wide range of trees including birch, black locust, cherry , elm, hackberry, hickory, oak, willow and many others.
This is a common caterpillar to see over eastern US to TX and Canada.

Here are some images of the moth
http://bugguide.net/node/view/521/bgimage


july 3 2k16
by: Anonymous

saw these on eglinton near warden & wow...so wierd

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Caterpillar: Yellow with Black and white Spots ( Genista Broom Moth caterpillar )

by Shelley
(Villa Park, IL USA)

Yellow Caterpillar

Yellow Caterpillar

When we discovered this caterpillar, he was already over 1 1/2 inches long. We found him on our False Indigo Plant - the caterpillar creates a web around its own personal feeding area.

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Genista Broom Moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Shelley
It took some searching and the help of a friend, but your yellow caterpillar will turn into the Genista Broom Moth (also called the Sophora Worm).
These moths are found in most of N America and Mexico.
The caterpillars feed on Baptisia (false indigo), Lupines, Acacia, TX mountain laurel, and other pea family shrubs. In the south there are several generations. It overwinters usually as a pupa tho sometimes as an adult.

Ewww
by: Anonymous

We found hundreds of these on one of plants. So they are going to turn into moths?

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pale yellow white caterpillar (Eumorpha caterpillar )

it's about as big as my little finger, sorry i forgot to include something in the picture for size reference. i found it in my driveway in cheyenne, wyoming. the one eye is on the rear end...i tried to get a side view but pic didn't turn out, it has white stripes on it underside. it seems to be somewhat hooded? i know i've never seen another so large and interesting! i hope you can help.

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Eumorpha caterpillar
by: Moni

Wyoming
Without a side view it is not possible for a positive ID, but it is probable an Achemon or a Pandorus moth caterpillar.
Here are some photos of that genus - http://bugguide.net/node/view/3936/bgpage

These caterpillars are in the Sphinx family, which all have tails. Some species like this one lose their tail during the last stage as a caterpillar before turning into a pupa.
The caterpillars and the moths are large and cool to see.

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big brown caterpillar with white spots (Pandorus Sphinx caterpillar)

Connecticut

Connecticut

Found in the bottom of my pool, dead. 3 inches long brown with white spots.

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Pandorus Sphinx caterpillar
by: Moni

Connecticut
This is a Pandorus Sphinx caterpillar. They come in several colors(someone else sent in a photo of a green one) of not only orange and green but reddish and brownish. Sphinx larva in general are called the horntail or hornworm larva since they have a tail.The last instar or molted stage of this caterpillar looses its tail and has an eye spot in its place.

This is a beautiful and spectacular larva. They do eat grape leaves, porcelain vine (Ampelopsis sp) as well as Virginia creeper.
When you see these large larva moving, they are on their way to find a place to pupate. They overwinter as pupa in the soil.

The adult moths are gorgeous and greenish. They have a long proboscis or feeding tube for gathering nectar from flowers. They look a little like small hummingbirds feeding at dusk.
Here are some photos of this insect
http://bugguide.net/node/view/3937/bgimage

Read more: http://www.simplegiftsfarm.com/large-orange-catepillar-pandorus-sphinx-caterpillar-comments.html#ixzz1WNWEjPWJ

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large green caterpillar with colored spikes (Cecropia moth caterpillar)

by Susan C.
(Warren, Vermont)

large green caterpillar with colored spikes

large green caterpillar with colored spikes

Insect is about 3 1/2 inches long. Has blue/yellow suction cup type feet. 4 orange spikes on top by head, 15 yellow spikes on top down to end, blue spikes down either side. Was found crawling on teak lawn chair in Vermont on August 27, 2011.

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Cecropia moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Susan
Your large green caterpillar is a Cecropia moth caterpillar.
It is one of the large silkworm moths in the Saturniidae family. Below is a website to see the moth that your caterpillar turns into.
The caterpillars feed on foliage of many trees and shrubs including maple, oak, cherry, poplar, ash, beech, apple, boxelder, dogwood, gooseberry, elm, and willow. The moths do not feed, but survive on the energy accumulated by the caterpillar.
This insect overwinters as a pupa, so when the caterpillar is finished eating it forms a silky cocoon that is attached to twigs ...then the moth emerges the next spring.
Your caterpillar may be ready to pupate and is looking for a place to do so.

http://bugguide.net/node/view/4625/bgimage


thanks
by: Susan C.

Thanks.

Aug. 4, 2015
by: Mary L.

We found one in our blueberry bushes. Thank you for your website. I looked everywhere to try to identify. I'll leave him alone since the blueberry bush is about done producing.

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large green catapiler (Sphinx caterpillar)

by Mike M.
(Calgary, AB, Canada)

What is it?

What is it?

Large fat green catapiler with spike on head

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Sphinx caterpillar
by: Moni

Mike
You have a sphinx caterpillar. They have a tail on the rear end...not sure about any spike on the head??
What was it feeding on?
There are many sphinx caterpillars that feed on many things. Yours kind of looks like one that feeds on tomatoes, but without more photos from other angles like a side view, it can not be ID'ed further.
Here are images of a few of this family of caterpillars - http://bugguide.net/node/view/193/bgimage

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Yellow fuzzy 2" caterpillar (Virginian Tiger Moth caterpillar)

by Stephanie Martinez
(Portland, Oregon)

Yellow Fuzzy 2

Yellow Fuzzy 2

This little guy was crawling around on the back patio bench and brushed up against the bottom of my foot. He is yellow, and quite fuzzy, with no color differentiation or markings. He was no bigger than 2 inches (my best guess). I live in Portland, Oregon and have never seen one like this.

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Thanks for posting
by: Stephanie Martinez

Thank you Moni for posting the picture of my caterpillar!! I am curious as to what type of caterpillar this is. Can you help me to ID this little guy please?? Thank you!

Virginian Tiger Moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Stephanie
Your caterpillar is a Virginian Tiger Moth larvae - also called the yellow woolly bear . These caterpillars come in various colors as you can see at this website, which also includes pics of the moth -
http://bugguide.net/node/view/498/bgimage

These are found throughout most of North America. The caterpillars feed on many low growing plants like docks, thistles, plantains and dandelions, as well as shrubs and trees. In my garden I have seen them on lambsquarters, pigweed, green beans besides other plants and weeds.
Winter is spent as a pupa in a cocoon.

ID for caterpillar
by: Stephanie Martinez

Thank you Moni!!!! I am so glad that I know what kind of caterpillar this is! You are truly wonderful, and I am so happy I was able to stumble upon this page! I am enjoying all the pictures and comments on the other caterpillars from all over! I had NO IDEA caterpillars were so diverse, colorful, and interesting!!!!

Again, thank you so much for helping witgh the identification!

Thank You Moni!
by: Shari

Thank You Moni! I hope you were able to receive my pictures and identify the caterpillar that I found on my hibiscus. If you were unable to obtain the pictures please email and I will try again. Thanks so much. I have not seen one of these before and I have seen many.

Caterpillar
by: Moni

Shari
your photo and my ID got lost in computer glich never never land...so please send it again. I think it was the
virginian tiger moth caterpillar also.

Chicago suburbs
by: Val

I just found this caterpillar on some clover in my back yard last weekend while it was really hot & humid here. I live in Hoffman Estates IL, about 27 miles northwest of Chicago. My backyard is organic and a bit wild, so we get lots of animals, but this is the first time I've seen this type of caterpillar. Thanks for everyone's info, which helped me to identify it!

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A White,Black,Yellow w/Gold Spots Caterpillar (Black swallowtail caterpillar

by Margaret
(Charlotte, NC)

© INFINITY ∞

© INFINITY ∞

I found this little caterpillar in one of my herb boxes in the garden today when I was watering. I had just watered the parsley when I noticed him and he rose up and appeared to have sprayed something out of his mouth I guess. I guess I made him mad, so I ran inside and got the camera and starting taking photos of him. The photo and this description is the best I can do. I would really like to know what this little guy is called. I thought I had him figured out, but then I noticed that when he got mad a different set of little yellow horns came out when he was spraying that liquid and that the photo I was looking at didn't have the gold spots. I appreciate your help in advance and I hope the photo gives you enough details to identify. Please note and keep in mind that he does have some water droplets on him before I noticed him. Thank you again for your kind help.

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Monarch Butterfly?
by: Paul

It looks to me that this catapillar will turn into a Monarch Butterfly. I know that the catapillar of the Monarch Butterfly only eats Milkweed (Is there any Milkweed growing nearby?). If I am correct it might be looking for a hiding spot to form a chrysalis.

This caterpillar is eating parsley only and has changed colors just a bit to the green hur.
by: Infinity

Dear Friends,
This caterpillar is eating the herb parsley only (or since he came to my garden) and in the last day he has changed colors just a bit to the green hue. I hope to get some photos tomorrow and post them here online tomorrow if I can. Please note that he also appears to have grown in size too. I don't know if he is eating his own weight in parsley, but he certainly has gained weight since yesterday and the day before. Larger photos to follow and thank you for your help with the Monarch suggestion, but I also thought he was of the Monarch family, but I later learned that he wasn't. Parsley is not a part of the milkweed family as far as my research shows, so the search goes on. Please know that I appreciate all of your kind help in trying to figure out who this little guy is. Have a great evening!

Black swallowtail caterpillar
by: Moni

Infinity
Your caterpillar is that of the black swallowtail butterfly.
They are also called the Parsley swallowtail, dill worm, Parsley worm, celery worm...
This is because they do feed on dill, parsley, celery, fennel, and carrots (any plant in the carrot family). The larvae do change color as they go thru several stages of development before they turn into a pupa and then the adult. The butterflies feed on nectar.
Here are some photos of the colors at the various stages - http://bugguide.net/node/view/298231/bgimage?from=48
These are found in eastern North America as well as southwest US. There are 2 generations in the northern areas and 3 in southern areas.

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Black, White and Orange Furry Caterpillar (Milkweed tussock moth caterpillar)

by Anahita
(Gravenhurst, Ontario)

About an inch in length, very long fur, had suction-cup like feet and a prominent orange ridge of fur on its back.

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Milkweed tussock moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Anahita
Your caterpillar is a Milkweed tussock moth caterpillar.
This caterpillar feeds on milkweed as the name suggests. The eggs are laid close together and the larvae when they hatch feed next to each other until they get to the last couple of stages. They can defoliate any plant in the milkweed family.
This insect is found in the eastern half of North America.
Here are what the different stages look like - http://bugguide.net/node/view/433/bgimage?from=0

Remarks from Bugguide -
"POTENTIAL FOOD FOR: Red bats and big brown bats.
FAVORITE GAMBIT: Sounding gross. Literally. They don't taste gross, at least not to bats. But they deter their predators, which hunt by sonar, by imitating the high-pitched clicking sounds of certain other moths that taste so bad that bats steer clear.
BATS FALL FOR THAT?: A Wake Forest University study shows that they do.
From Smithsonian Magazine - August '07"

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Brown Caterpillar with single horn (Hermit sphinx caterpillar)

by Shannon
(Asland, Ohio, USA)

Brown caterpillar with black dot at head. Single horn at rear. About 2+ inches in length. Found in Ohio on the ground.

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Hermit sphinx caterpillar
by: Moni

Shannon
This is a first we have seen this Sphingiidae caterpillar on Insect ID...the hermit sphinx.
These are found in the eastern part of North America west to Manitoba and Arkansas tho rare south of that...and they are not common to see.
They are seen in moist meadows, fields and garden areas feeding on plants in the mint family: bee-balm, Lamiums, basil, spearmint, peppermint, sage, etc. The moths feed on nectar from deep throated flowers.
Here are photos of the various stages -http://bugguide.net/node/view/40976/bgimage

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Pink with white markings, 1.5 inch (Achemon Sphinx caterpillar)

by Jennifer
(CA)

top

top

top side

1.5 inch, soft body. It was a pink color with white markings on both sides. There was a red colored circle on the "head" with a black "exclamation mark" inside. On the top it's mouth appeared to be shaped like a beak on the bottom like an ant eaters snout. It had eight appendages that stuck to or grasped pebbles. On the "tail" it what could have been tiny pinchers or something poking out (it was rounded, lighter pink, and a little slimy). The body had segments like a worm. When gently proded it moved side to side.

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Achemon Sphinx caterpillar
by: Moni

Jennifer

This is the Achemon Sphinx caterpillar. The caterpillars can be green or reddish brown.

They are found over most of the US and Mexico. The larvae do feed on grape leaves, Virginia creeper, and Ampelopsis (porcelain vine) plants. The caterpillars lose their tails in the last stage before it turns into a pupa. They pupate in the soil.
The adults feed on nectar from flowers. The adults can be seen at dusk feeding...looking kind of like hummingbirds.
Here are photos of adults and caterpillars of various stages. http://bugguide.net/node/view/20061/bgimage

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Green caterpillar eating tomatoes (Carolina sphinx or Tobacco hornworm)

by Erin
(Omaha, NE)

Found eating tomatoes. Put it in kids' bug catcher and it ate an entire large cherry tomato and pood a LOT. I assume it's a moth?

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Tomato Horn Worm
by: Anonymous

It looks like a Tomato Horn Worm (catapillar). They are considered to be pests.

Carolina sphinx or Tobacco hornworm
by: Moni

Erin
Your caterpillar is the Carolina sphinx or tobacco hornworm. It feeds on all of the solanaceous plants which include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers.
The adult moth is gray and has six pairs of yellow spots on its abdomen. The moth feeds on nectar of deep-throated flowers like honeysuckle, moonflower, or petunia.
This caterpillar has 7 angled white lines along the side while its relative the tomato hornworm has 8. The tobacco hornworm also has a red tail while the tomato hornworm has a black tail...seems like it should be the other way around!
There are 2 or more generations per year depending on location. They are found thru out North America.
They can be a pest of tomatoes, however there are parasitic wasps that lay eggs in them that keep them under control most of the time. If need be to control them, just pick off and smash or drop in soapy water.

Here are photos of the moth and larval stages - http://bugguide.net/node/view/3244/bgimage

Terrible caterpillers
by: Anonymous

2 years ago I had hundreds on them on my tomatoes. Drop them in a bucket of water they die.
At the end of the season I removed the tomato plants. When I dug down to get the soil turned over I found 3 or 4 Hornworm larvae. They are easy to spot. Large dark brown larvae. Kill these also. 2 years now I have not see any hornworms. I think the predator wasps are doing their control.

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Yellow and Fuzzy Caterpillar (Virginian Tiger Moth caterpillar)

by Desiree
(Washington)

Fuzzy Yellow Catipillar

Fuzzy Yellow Catipillar

its yellow and fuzzy, no distinct markings or color other than that, while he was eating i caught a glimpse of its face, i thing there was a little orange but thats about it. it fits perfectly on the length of a rose petal so it isnt very big, im just wondering if itll turn into a butterfly cuz im gonna keep it, its so cute!

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Virginian Tiger Moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Desiree
Your caterpillar is a Virginian Tiger Moth caterpillar - also called the yellow woolly bear . These caterpillars come in various colors as you can see at this website, which also includes pics of the moth -
http://bugguide.net/node/view/498/bgimage

These are found throughout most of North America. The caterpillars feed on many low growing plants like docks, thistles, plantains and dandelions, as well as shrubs and trees. In my garden I have seen them on lambsquarters, pigweed, green beans besides other plants and weeds.
Winter is spent as a pupa in a cocoon.

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Pink Hairless Caterpillar with stripe & split tail (Mottled Prominent)

by Jen D
(Merriam, KS (Kansas City area))

Side length view

Side length view

Side length view Bottom side Overall view Top View

This is a reddish colored caterpillar with a lighter pink (or reddish)stripe lengthwise down the top center of it's back with what appears to be a split tail. It's approx. 1 inch in length. The bottom of the caterpillar is green in color. There look to be very small spots along the side of it towards the bottom.I have found several of these in the past 2 weeks in and around my garage. We have lived here 12 years & I have never seen them before.

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Mottled Prominent
by: Moni

Jen D
I believe your caterpillar is the mottled prominent. They turn pink as they get ready to pupate. And as they go into the later stages of being a caterpillar the tail gets shorter.
Here are photos of the adult and other larvae stages - http://bugguide.net/node/view/9528/bgimage?from=24

Theses are found in eastern North America...west to a line from TX to Manitoba.
The caterpillars feed on foliage of oaks as well as a few other deciduous trees like maple and beech. There is one generation in the north, two in the south.

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Black caterpillar with yellow spots and black hairs (Paddle caterpillar)

by Nancy
(SW Oregon)

Striking black and yellow caterpillar

Striking black and yellow caterpillar

Found this stunning guy on a rose bush leaf. It's about an inch long. I live in SW Oregon, in a forest. This caterpillar was in my garden which has a variety of flowers, fruits and vegetables. It's the only one I saw, and I've never seen one like it before.

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Paddle caterpillar
by: Moni

Nancy
Your caterpillar is the paddle caterpillar which is known as the funerary dagger moth.
This insect is found over North America but has been found spotty in the Midwest. Common in the northwest but uncommon in other areas.
The caterpillars feed on leaves of alder, apple, birch, blueberry/huckleberry (Vaccinium spp.), cottonwood, dogwood, elm, hazel, hickory, maple, oak, and willow.
Here are photos of the moth and larval stages - http://bugguide.net/node/view/416/bgimage

What a cool find! And great photo!

Thank you!
by: Nancy

Thanks so much, Moni! I was able to find it on the internet after your ID --- I'd searched fruitlessly through scads of pictures before without any luck. Really appreciate this website!

Paddle caterpillar
by: Anonymous

yes, we have had this little guy feeding on my rose bush as well. Have not seen one before, and he was on his own, so we thought we would just let him feed on a couple of leaves. Truly he is so pretty, and how much damage can one little guy do. We live in Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada.

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chrysalis found in Maine ( Question Mark butterfly chrysali)

by Laurie Rountree
(Stockton Springs, ME)

It looks like the caterpillar had problems getting rid of the skin. The white areas are dots of clear liquid and seem to be where the prolegs were. Could this little guy have run into problems and died? Could this possible be an aphrodite frittilary? I've been seeing the butterflies all summer but never a caterpillar.

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Question Mark butterfly chrysalis
by: Moni

Laurie
Many times we can not tell what the butterfly or moth is by the pupa stage, however yours is distinct enough that it is the question mark butterfly chrysalis.
Here are a couple of photos of others on bugguide and the butterfly they turn into.
http://bugguide.net/node/view/336668/bgimage
http://bugguide.net/node/view/561382/bgimage
http://bugguide.net/node/view/128002
http://bugguide.net/node/view/1514

The white/silver spots may have been wet as the caterpillar may have just turned into the chrysalis and it had not hardened yet.

The question mark butterfly lives in most of eastern North America except southern FL.
Adults feed on liquids from soil, rotten fruit, feces, and carrion. The caterpillars feed on nettle, false nettle, elm, hackberry, and Japanese hops. They do overwinter as adults so when your chrysalis emerges it will probably live til spring to start the cycle again.

Thanks for sending this photo in.

Chrysalis update Maine
by: Anonymous

Thank you Moni for your ID. We were on vacation and when we came back it had eclosed. So maybe in the spring we will see it again when it is out looking to lay eggs. The wet spots were transparent areas on the chrysalis although I know they were wet when I viewed them. Very interesting. This is a wonderful website.

what is it?
by: Susie

4 of these are attached to my house in Napa, CA.
Before this stage Caterpillars had black spikes with red feet.

Question Mark
by: Laurie

The chrysalis opened properly and I saw a Question Mark in my back yard at some point later. That doesn't mean it wasn't a fritillary. We have moved to Tx. I raise Monarchs and the skin often stays on and has not prevented enclosure. I have Gulf Fritillaries in chrysalis now outside, black swallowtail cats on dill and 30 Monarch cats in my kitchen from the northern migration.
I would have never guessed Central Tx could have so much wildlife.

Eclosure, not enclosure. Oops
by: Anonymous

As above.

chrysalis from caterpillar bl spikes red feet
by: Moni

Susie
Your caterpillar with black spikes and red feet might be that of a mourning cloak butterfly. However, without a photo we can not be sure.

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White fuzzy with black stripe and black face (Hickory tussock moth caterpillar)

by Sandy
(London Ontario Canada)

Not shy, this caterpillar has taken over my backyard located in southwestern Ontario. Have never seen it before. Has been spotted on ground, in trees and climbing walls. I back onto a large old growth forest below me in a ravine. These creatures appeared after excavating work and new soil was placed to combat erosion issues. Does it pose a threat to my forest made up of maples, oak and a variety of others?

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Hickory tussock moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Sandy
Your caterpillar is the hickory tussock moth caterpillar. They are found in deciduous woods with the caterpillars feeding on foliage of ash, oak, hickory, maple, elm trees as well as Virginia creeper, raspberry , rose, sumac and blueberry. It is not considered a pest...just a neat caterpillar to find as part of our woodland habitat. :-)
The adult moths are nocturnal tho will come to lights at night.
This insect is found from southwestern US into northeast US along with most of eastern Canada.

Here are photos of the moth as well as stages of the caterpillars - http://bugguide.net/node/view/5690/bgimage?from=24

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Small Green Caterpillar-like Insectm(Crowned slug caterpillar)

by Sarah
(Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)

This insect is about the size of a penny, 18 legs with fur / hairs on each leg, a light green colour, and was found in Ontario, Canada.

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Crowned slug caterpillar
by: Moni

Sarah
Your photo is of the Crowned Slug caterpillar. The later instars have red dots along the center of the back. What looks like all the legs are spines. The adult is a moth.
These are found in the woods. Larva feed on leaves of many trees especially oak, but also cherry, hickory, maple, basswood, beech and elm. They overwinter as larva.
CAUTION:
This is one of the stinging caterpillars - the bristles are filled with poison to defend themselves from predators.

Here are photos of moth and larva -
http://bugguide.net/node/view/25201/bgimage

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Yellow tufted caterpillar (Definite Tussock moth caterpillar)

by Betsy Baranski
(Rhode Island, USA)

Found on a picnic table in the mountains of Western Maine. Many trees around, at lakeside.

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Definite Tussock moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Betsy
Your caterpillar with all the yellow has to be a definite tussock moth caterpillar. Assume you took this photo in the fall?
These insects are found in the New England and Mid-Atlantic states.
The caterpillars feed on a variety of trees including: apple, ash, basswood, birch, boxelder, cherry, elm, maple, oaks and willows. The adult female can not fly.
The hairs on this genus of caterpillars are known to cause skin irritation so do be careful about handling it.
Here are photos of the moth and larvae - http://bugguide.net/node/view/434/bgimage?from=0

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FLUFFY AND WHITE caterpillar (Tussock caterpillar)

by Lisa M. Johnson
(Centralia, Washington)

Its about 1 inch long white with 6 bright redish orange spots and 2 black running down its back.sticky feet.

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Tussock caterpillar
by: Moni

Lisa
Do you have a photo of a side view?
It looks like it might be a tussock caterpillar but none quite fit the coloring or the tufts. It would really help to have other views of this caterpillar.

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2" caterpillar (Ruddy Dagger moth caterpillar)

by Laney
(Cuero, TX USA)

crawling on old pipe on ground

crawling on old pipe on ground

crawling on old pipe on ground crawling on exterior door of house

2 inch long caterpillar, light brown body with long white hairs and black spots along back with black hairs. Head is black with tan markings.

There are suddenly many of them crawling all over my house and anything near it.

Oak and pecan trees are in proximity of where I see most caterpillars.

We are located in rural DeWitt County, Texas.

Photo #1 it is crawling on old pipe on ground.

Photo #2 it is crawling on exterior door of house.

We are organic gardeners with many plants for butterflies and wild birds:-)

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Ruddy Dagger moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Laney
Took me awhile to find it but it is the ruddy dagger moth caterpillar, sometimes called the hackberry caterpillar.
These caterpillars eat elm, hackberry and sumac. There are two generations per year seen from April to October usually.
They are found from Southern Ontario south to FL then west to TX up into KS.
They are not a pest...just one of those interesting critters we get to see in our yards.
Thanks for sharing!

Here are photos of other caterpillar stages and the moth - http://bugguide.net/node/view/16893/bgimage?from=0

Thank you, Moni!
by: Laney

I really appreciate your help, Moni!

Thank you for this great information -- I am relieved:-) I spent hours trying to ID these, to no avail.

We do have Hackberry trees so it makes sense.

I will share this with my Facebook friends.

Thanks again!
Laney


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Yellow fuzzy caterpillar, black body, yellow spots (Rusty tussock moth caterpillar )

by Cathy
(Las Cruces, NM, USA)

This striking little guy was walking across our hotel parking lot when we visited Astoria, Oregon last year. I haven't been able to identify him.

Comments for Yellow fuzzy caterpillar, black body, yellow spots (Rusty tussock moth caterpillar )

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Moth?
by: Anonymous

This looks a lot like a Tussock moth. Possibly a Rusty Tussock. Beautiful little guy!

Thanks
by: Cathy

Anonymous - I think you nailed it. Thank you!! Kind of amazing that such a colorful caterpillar produces a somewhat drab little moth. Hope he/she enjoyed the colorful phase of his/her life.

Rusty tussock moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Cathy
As anonymous said your caterpillar is one of the tussock moth caterpillars (family Erebidae which use to be Lymantridae. These caterpillars have the tufts on their backs and what look like large fluffy antenna in the front with another long fluffy tail like appendage. It is probably the rusty tussock as anonymous suggested although without a side view and photo of the head we can not be positive.

These are found across North America. The caterpillars eat a wide variety of trees and shrubs from oaks, chestnuts, beech, blueberry, rhododendron, willows, and most of the various orchard fruit trees.

Here are photos of the various stages including the moths - http://bugguide.net/node/view/28152/bgimage

Thanks, Moni!
by: Cathy

Moni, it certainly looks like the Rusty Tussock to me, now that I've looked at the webpage you listed. Thank you so much. Can't tell you how much I appreciate someone who is able to solve these mysteries that niggle away at me!

Rusty tussock moth caterpillar
by: Moni

Cathy
When ever you need an ID, send in your insect photos, it is fun to figure them out for me and several others!
Thanks!

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