Currently viewing the category: "Inchworms"
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Subject: Ugliest caterpillar
Location: Southeast Michigan
July 17, 2015 8:38 am
I found this in someone’s garden while i was working. What type of moth or butteffly might it be? I have never seen anything like it before.
Signature: – ruth the gardener

Spanworm

Spanworm

Dear Ruth the gardener,
This is an Inchworm or Spanworm in the family Geometridae, and larvae can often be very difficult to identify to the species level.  One of the most noticeable features on your Spanworm is the red color of the spiracles or breathing openings on the side.  We thought that might lead us to an identification, but alas, it did not.  Knowing the plant the Spanworm was feeding upon might help.  Though we can make out a leaf on the right, we cannot tell the identity of the plant.  If you can supply us with the plant, we might have better luck.

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Subject: Bug identification
Location: Bowling Green, Ohio USA
May 24, 2015 2:47 pm
I found this bug crawling on my shoulder and have never seen one that looks like this. I live in Bowling Green, Ohio and was curious what it is. I heard about a kind of caterpillar that will bite and leave welts. I have children and want to make sure this bug is not harmful. Thank you so much in advance.
Signature: Stephanie P

Filament Bearer

Filament Bearer

Dear Stephanie,
This Inchworm in the family Geometridae is a Filament Bearer or Horned Spanworm in the genus
Nematocampa which you can verify on BugGuide.  In our opinion, this is not a harmful species.

Thank you so much for the speedy answer! I feel a lot better now that I know what it is and that it is harmless! Stephanie

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Subject: Inchworm Mayhem
Location: Mumbai, India
April 29, 2015 7:34 am
Dear Bugman,
These inchworms have wreaked havoc in my tiny balcony garden, fairly shredding my spider-plants to bits. Could you help id? I understand from your site that inchworms are geometrid moths caterpillars. It’s full summer now in India, and the photos are today’s (April 29). Another couple of days and it would’ve been ‘May’hem quite literally and figuratively 😀
Regards,
Signature: Ankush

Inchworms

Inchworms

Dear Ankush,
Is your Spider Plant a Chlorophytum species like that posted on Wikipedia?  Knowing the food plant is often a big help with identifying caterpillars and other plant feeding insects.  We attempted a search with the genus name of the Spider Plant and the family name Geometridae, but to no avail.  You image is stunning and clearly shows the looping action the Inchworm uses to move about, a result of having fewer sets of prolegs than the typical caterpillar.

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Subject: Tiniest inchworm
Location: South Central Kentucky
April 21, 2015 10:50 am
This morning I found this inchworm near my neck. We have a garden and chickens and many new fruit trees. Also there was a stray puppy here yesterday. So between all that, no clue where this came from. Found it on April 21. It has been about 65-80 degrees this last week with a LOT of rain. This worm is about the size of a thread and about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. It is black with no markings visible to the eyes. The pic isn’t very good cuz the camera couldn’t focus close enough. Thank you for your reply but I understand if you don’t… Have a good day!
Signature: Reneé

Tiny Inchworm

Tiny Inchworm

Dear Reneé,
Though we are unable to provide you with a species identification, we are able to provide you with a response.  As you have indicated, this is an Inchworm or Spanworm in the family Geometridae.  The larvae from this family is characterized by having only two pairs of prolegs, three pairs fewer than most caterpillars, hence their locomotion is affected.  They move by a looping action as your image indicates.  Here is the explanation on BugGuide:  “[Geometridae Larvae] generally have only two pairs of prolegs (at the hind end) rather than the usual five pairs in most lepidoptera; the lack of prolegs in the middle of the body necessitates the peculiar method of locomtion, drawing the hind end up to the thoracic legs to form a loop, and then extending the body forward.”  This Inchworm probably fell from a tree in your garden.

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Subject: Worms
Location: Denison tx
April 6, 2015 5:34 pm
We have zillions of little worms hanging from Cobb webs out of the tree and the porches. Really everywhere. What r they and what can we do about them?
Signature: Michelle

Spanworms

Spanworms

Dear Michelle,
In the past, we have gotten reports of Oak Leafroller Caterpillars,
Argyrotaenia quercifoliana, hanging from trees, but a closeup of your caterpillars indicates they are a different species in the Spanworm or Inchworm family Geometridae.  We will research this and try to come up with a species identification for you.

Spanworms

Spanworms

Spanworms

Spanworms

They are killing my trees I think and I’m not sure what to do.  Parts of my trees are brown where they were budding leaves last week

Newly Planted Apple Tree, we presume.

Newly Planted Apple Tree, we presume.

Hi again Michelle,
One tree image you provided appears to be a freshly planted Apple Tree.  Please provide information on the tree.  What is it?  When was it planted?  Is this the only place you are finding the caterpillars?  It is possible the eggs were on the tree when it was purchased and now that all the young leaves have been eaten, the caterpillars are on the move searching for more food.  If their diet is limited to the leaves of apple trees, they will starve and you will no longer have the caterpillars, and unless the tree is really unhealthy, new leaves will sprout.  We just noticed you also attached an image of a large tree.  What kind of tree is it?  Are the caterpillars on all of your trees or only on selected trees?  The large tree should have no trouble resprouting if it is an otherwise healthy tree.  Birds and other insectivore predators should help to keep the numbers of caterpillars in check.

What Tree is it?

What Tree is it?

 

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Subject: What the heck is this?
Location: Bay Area, California
February 25, 2015 4:11 pm
Hello!
Can you please help me identify the creature I found today fervently attached to my ceanothus? It’s the ivory-colored stick-like thing roughly in the middle of the picture.
Thank you!
Signature: CdeP2007

Spanworm

Spanworm

Dear CdeP2007,
This is a Spanworm or Inchworm, the caterpillar of a moth in the family Geometridae.  Caterpillars in this family are often hard to distinguish from sticks, especially when they grasp a branch with their terminal prolegs, extending the body out away from the branch at an angle, much as your image illustrates.  It may be the caterpillar of a Sulfur Moth,
Hesperumia sulphuraria, which is pictured on the Moths of Orange County website.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination