Subject: Caterpillars on water lilies
Location: Fullerton, CA
August 12, 2014 12:53 pm
For the second year now we have caterpillars in our water lilies. We have a small backyard pond with goldfish and these guys much away at the Lily pads, nothing else. As you can see from the pictures, they come in black and brown. Do caterpillars sunburn? They get almost as large as a monarch caterpillar and have appeared in late summer both years.
Thank you much!
Signature: Southland BugLovers
Dear Southland BugLovers,
We quickly located an image on BugGuide that matches your darker caterpillar and it is identified as a Yellow Striped Armyworm, , and it is feeding on water lilies in San Diego. Other images on BugGuide indicate that this caterpillar is highly variable, hence your lighter caterpillar as is the diet, which is described on BugGuide thus: “Larvae feed on many herbaceous plants, including 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.”