Orange Striped Oakworm
Location: Near Maumee, OH
August 27, 2010 8:13 am
While hiking on nature trails near Maumee, OH, we came across many dozens of these caterpillars on the ground. Most of them had been trampled by hikers, joggers, and Park vehicles, (ecchhhh–what a mess!), though some were still alive and crawling. This specimen was quite alive and about 2.5 to 3” long.
I had never seen this type of caterpillar before, and after investigating online, believe it to be an Orange Striped Oakworm. I am assuming that so many were on the ground at once, because it was time for them to burrow into the ground and pupate.
Many of the Buckeyes, Hickory and young Oak trees had their leaves decimated– and again I’m assuming it could have been a result of the Oakworm’s feeding. Interestingly, the mass carnage of both caterpillars and leaves was very localized, occuring in an area of about 100 yards.
We agree that this is an Orange Striped Oakworm, Anisota senatoria, and there is considerable information about the species posted on BugGuide. To the best of our knowledge, the caterpillars do not feed on buckeye or hickory, but your observation on the defoliated trees is very interesting.