August 16, 2009
I was hoping you could help me with an ID of this Caterpillar. I took this shot yesterday in Coral Springs Florida, US. It has been eating the plant you see it on (Annona salzmannii ) a fruit tree from South America. I’ve seen a couple of these in different parts of the county but they are always on plant in the Annonaceae family.
Thanks for your help
Coral Springs, Florida
Our quick search did not turn up an ID for this distinctive caterpillar. We will try to do additional research, but for now, we will post your image in the hope that one of our readers can supply an answer.
Cool, I suspect it may be a new invasive species. I did my homework before I submitted it to you, and I couldn’t find anything about this online or in my reference books. I hope we can figure out what it is. That I keep finding them on Annonaceae plants may be a good clue.
Thanks again for your help
Hi again Eric,
You should post a comment on our posting of your caterpillar, so if anyone writes in with an identification, you will receive a copy of the comment.
Identification courtesy of Karl
I am fairly certain this is a Fruit-piercing Moth caterpillar (Noctuoidea: Erebidae: Calpinae) in the genus Gonodonta. Alternative taxonomic systems place this genus in the sub-family Catocalinae. Caterpillars of this group tend to be variable and several species look similar to begin with, so nailing down the species is difficult. To me it looks most similar to G. bidens, but it could also be G. pyrgo or G. incurvata. If it is any of those three then it does belong in Florida. If it is a similar species from further south (there are a few) then it is a visitor, or perhaps an invasive. One example of a G. bidens caterpillar can be found at: http://www.tulane.edu/~ldyer/lsacat/index_frames.htm (click on ‘Noctuidae’ to get to a species list). K
Hi again Eric:
I forgot to mention that if you follow the link provided you will see that (in Costa Rica) the Annonaceae are given as host plants for G. bidens. That was a good and useful observation on your part. K