Currently viewing the category: "moth caterpillars"
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Subject: Kids and Caterpillars
Location: Central Texas
September 27, 2016 6:45 am
My 4yo found a caterpillar he desperately wants to see turn into a butterfly. I have no idea what kind it is or what to put in the terrarium for it to eat. Can you help?
We live in central Texas. It was found on the ground in some dirt after it rained for a few day. It is Sept 27th. It has been really hot here in the 90-100’s but is now cooling off into the 70’s.
Signature: Little One from Texas

Heterocampa Caterpillar

Heterocampa Caterpillar

Dear Little One from Texas,
This is a Prominent Moth Caterpillar in the genus
Heterocampa, but we are not certain of the species as the members of the genus all look quite similar.  Browsing through BugGuide may help you identify possible food plants.  When it is getting ready to pupate, it might turn a purple or pink color

Daniel
Thank you so much.  We are going to try to let it pupate in our terrarium.  Here is an updated photo of the little guy!

Thanks for the updated image.  Your caterpillar is turning purple right on schedule.

Pre-Pupal Heterocampa Caterpillar

Pre-Pupal Heterocampa Caterpillar

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Subject: Unknown Caterpillar
Location: Palominas, AZ, Cochise County
September 26, 2016 4:15 pm
This caterpillar was found on a Mesquite tree in Palominas, Arizona, Cochise County, on or around September 24, 2016, by Jessica Ray. She requested that I submit her photos for identification.
Signature: Delores

Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Dear Delores,
This is definitely a Lappet Moth Caterpillar in the family Lasiocampidae, but we cannot say for certain which species or even definitively which genus.  According to a posting entitled Living Illusions on the Lappet Moth 
Phyllodesma americana on the Beautiful Nightmares blog:  “The caterpillars munch on leaves by night, hiding on twigs and bark by day. They are also well-hidden, but because they have to be able to live on a variety of different trees, each of which has a differently-colored bark, lappet caterpillars don’t have a color that matches a particular background. Instead they, like their parent moths, have bodies with distorted outlines, specifically a lateral fringe of long hairs.  On bark, this helps a caterpillar “merge” with the bark on which it rests. …  Animals that depend on camouflage have to stay very still to avoid detection, but if they are spotted, staying still quickly becomes futile. Many animals use color to startle predators as a backup plan, the best-known example being the red-eyed tree frog. At rest, the frogs appear a solid leafy-green, but if disturbed, they quickly open their eyes. The sudden appearance of two giant, bright red eyes can be enough to startle a predator, which might give the frog time enough to make a hasty escape.”  Discover Life has images that support that might be a correct species identification, however, based on this BugGuide image, we would not rule out that it might be in the genus Tolype.  At any rate, your marvelous images clearly depict both the camouflage and the flash of warning colors.    

Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Thank you Daniel for identifying the Lappet moth caterpillar.  I searched high and low trying to identify it myself and finally gave up.  Again, many thanks.
Delores

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Subject: Beautiful Green Caterpillar
Location: Southern Oregon
September 22, 2016 8:55 pm
Hello Bugman!
I found two beautiful, large, green caterpillars in my yard (mid July). I was thinking maybe they’re Luna Moth Caterpillars but they don’t have any red on them as some of the pictures I found do.
Can you tell me what they are? I took both of them out of the way and placed them on Oak Trees hoping that wasn’t a mistake but worried that they may otherwise be harmed.
Also, I want to write an article for our local paper about helping beneficial insects during the fall. I welcome any advice you have (especially about preserving some leaf litter for insects), and I will gladly quote you and ideally drive more traffic to your site.
Thank you!
Signature: Kenda

Silkmoth Caterpillar

Silkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Kenda,
These are Giant Silkmoth Caterpillars from the family Saturniidae and the genus Hyalophora.  There are two species from the genus in Oregon.  We are requesting assistance from Bill Oehlke to verify their species identity.

Silkmoth Caterpillar

Silkmoth Caterpillar

Bill Oehlke Responds
In southeastern Oregon they should be Hyalophora columbia gloveri. In southwestern Oregon, they should be Hyalophora euryalus.
There are hybrid blend zones in some areas and it is very difficult in some cases to differentiate even between adult moths whether they are [H.] euryalus, [H.] columbia gloveri or a naturally occurring hybrid strain.

Awesome! Thank you! Are they pollinators?
Cheers,
Kenda

Kenda,
Caterpillars are not considered pollinators in the traditional sense of the word, but we would not rule out that they might accidentally transfer pollen from one blossom to another while eating leaves.  Adult Giant Silkmoths do not feed, so they are not considered pollinators.

That’s great information, thank you Daniel.
So, here’s a potentially silly question, what value do the adult moths bring to biodiversity?
Cheers,
Kenda

We have a long-standing mission on our site to promote the interconnectivity of all forms of life on our planet.  While they are Caterpillars, Giant Silkmoths store vast quantities of fat in their bodies to help them survive as adults which do not eat.  Adult Giant Silkmoths provide a valuable source of nutrition to many predators, including bats, birds and mammals.

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Subject: Caterpillar?
Location: Clermont Florida
September 26, 2016 5:49 am
I found this on my window this morning when I opened the blinds. It was on the outside. I went out to look at it and it looks like it is making a cocoon? It looks like tree bark. The pictures were taken in Clermont Florida in September my me. I cannot find it anywhere on line.
Signature: Lynn Albanese

Bagworm Cocoon

Bagworm Cocoon

Dear Lynn,
This is a Bagworm Cocoon.  Bagworms are a family of moths, Psychidae, whose larvae construct “bags” out of plant material, generally the plants upon which they are feeding.  They carry around the bag for protection, and eventually pupate within the bag.  Your individual appears to have pupated.

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Subject: Green Caterpillar with Red-Tipped Scales
Location: Southwest Texas (Val Verde County)
September 23, 2016 7:29 am
The following caterpillar was found on a nature trail at the Amistad National Recreation area in Del Rio, Texas (a semi-arid environment in Southwest Texas with influences by the Chihuahuan desert, Edwards plateau, and South Texas plains). The creature was found in the morning (~10 am) in September. It is predominately green in color, with a darker olive green dorsal side and lighter green belly. It appears to have 10 segments. Each of the first two segments behind the head has 4 green spine-like structures on the dorsal side (two per side). Most of the following segments had 4 scale-like spines that were predominately white with red tips. The head was predominately green with two yellow-ish vertical stripes. A dark green postabdominal spine was located on the dorsal side of the 10th segment.
Signature: n/a

Sphingicampa Caterpillar

Sphingicampa Caterpillar

Dear n/a,
This is a Silkmoth Caterpillar from the genus
Sphingicampa, and there are several similar looking species found in Texas, according to BugGuide

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Catapilars
Location: France
September 25, 2016 2:35 am
Saw this South of France, Gorges dHeric.Can’t seem to find it in a general search any ideas?
Signature: Jules

Spurge Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Spurge Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Jules,
Though your image does not illustrate the caudal horn, one of the most significant physical features of the Spurge Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Hyles euphorbiae, the coloration is unmistakable.  The Spurge Hawkmoth  is found in North America as well as Eurasia, because they were released to help control the invasive spurge plants that have become naturalized in North America.   The Sphingidae of the Western Palaearctic site has some excellent images that should substantiate our identification.

Thank you for clearing that up.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination