Currently viewing the category: "Cutworms and Owlet Caterpillars"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillars
Location: Anvik, Alaska
June 24, 2016 3:32 am
Hello im from Alaska and we just noticed all these caterpillars everything eating up all the leaves off of willows and trees.. It’s very on common for these to be around here. There trillions of them everything I mean every where. Please let us know if u know what they are. This spring there were millions of Moths flying around that was very weird and wasn’t common at all.
Signature: Kelly Kruger

Sawfly Larvae or Caterpillars???

Sawfly Larvae or Caterpillars???

Dear Kelly,
Alas, there is not enough detail in your images to tell for certain if these are Caterpillars, or as we suspect, Sawfly Larvae.  According to Insects.About.com:  “Caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and moths, which belong to the order Lepidoptera. Sawfly larvae look similar to caterpillars, but are an entirely different kind of insect. Sawflies are related to bees and wasps, and belong to the order Hymenoptera. Like caterpillars, sawfly larvae usually feed on plant foliage.  How can you tell the difference between a sawfly larva and a caterpillar? Count the prolegs. Caterpillars may have up to five pairs of abdominal prolegs (see parts of a caterpillar diagram), but never have more than five pairs.  Sawfly larvae will have six or more pairs of abdominal prolegs*. Another notable difference, though it requires a closer look, is that caterpillars have tiny hooks called crochets, on the ends of their prolegs. Sawflies don’t.  Another, less obvious difference between caterpillars and sawfly larvae is the number of eyes.  Caterpillars almost always have 12 stemmata, 6 on each side of the head. Sawfly larvae usually have just a single pair of stemmata.”  In two of your images, the camera is entirely too far away to see individual detail in these larvae.  In the one close-up image, the largest larva is partially out of focus, and the only other larva that can be viewed clearly is half cut off at the top of the frame.  We wish we could count the prolegs, though it really seems to us that there appears to be six pairs, which would make these Sawfly Larvae and not Caterpillars, but again, the image is too blurry at that critical part of the anatomy that we cannot be certain.  Additionally, we can find no images online of either Caterpillars or Sawfly Larvae that have this particular coloration and markings.  The jury is still out on your identification request.  Can you return to the willows and get a higher resolution, sharper image? or can you count the prolegs and get back to us?

Sawfly Larvae or Caterpillars???

Sawfly Larvae or Caterpillars???

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Possible Silkworm or Hornworm?
Location: Marquette, MI
June 23, 2016 5:03 pm
I had come across a very plump caterpillar when letting my dogs outside. It was on a beach tree, and looked to be in the process of forming a chrysalis, as it was hanging upside-down. It was/ is approximately between 1- 2 long, and is green. It’s face is also green, and has: a continuous white stripe on each side of its body; yellow dashes on it’s back; and three prominent yellow dashed lines going down it’s back. It does have a tail, and has an end that looks similar to a tail-less Silkworm and/ or Hornworm. Overall, this Caterpillar seems to have a build similar to a Silkworm and Hornworm.
I live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, which mostly consists of rain forests, and is surrounded by Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron. Because of these factors, we get a lot of bugs
Signature: – Sam

Humped Green Fruitworm

Humped Green Fruitworm

Dear Sam,
This is neither a Silkworm nor a Hornworm.  This is a Humped Green Fruitworm, the larva of the Copper Underwing,
Amphipyra pyramidoides.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: caterpillar
Location: pretoria
May 30, 2016 4:53 am
Halo bugman :-)
I found 3 of these on a daisy type flower bush. sorry I’m a keen gardener but don’t remember the plant names. can you identify this and what kind of buuterfly does it become. is it a pest?
Signature: René

Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Dear René,
It was not until we searched through North American species of Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillars from the genus
Cucullia on BugGuide that we realized you were writing from South Africa.  BugGuide describes the caterpillars as:  “usually smooth (hairless) and very colorful, with mixed patterns of spots, stripes, and/or patches of mostly yellow, red, green, blue, and black – the range of variation between species is too complex to describe in general terms.”  We did find an excellent visual match to your Caterpillar on iSpot, but it is only identified to the genus level.  Adult Moths from the genus Cucullia are generally drab and brown, and it seems the caterpillars are the beautiful stage of development.  Your submission will not go live to our site until mid-June while we are away from the office. 

Good morning
Thank you for your prompt reply. I just assumed it’s a South African website. Where are you guys situated?
I asked all of our nurseries in the area and nobody knew that such a beautiful caterpillar turns into such a dull moth. I relocated all of them into the fields close to my house. Now they can leave my flowers alone!!! I’m a very novice gardener and plants EVERYTHING that looks pretty. I did not appreciate these guys ravishing a WHOLE bush in 3 days!!! So far it looks like only the earthworms are welcome in my garden.
Thanks again for the help!
Vriendelike groete / Kind regards
René

Our offices are in Los Angeles, but we are a global website.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: green caterpillar feeding on Azalea
Location: Minneapolis, MN
May 28, 2016 8:48 am
This morning while picking off azalea sawflies, I found this caterpillar on my “Northern Lights”
azalea . In 15 years of springtime sawfly activity I have never seen a caterpillar like this; on or off an azalea! If you could ID this I would be very grateful.
Signature: Joanne K., Minneapolis

Humped Green Fruitworm

Humped Green Fruitworm

Dear Joanne,
Your distinctive caterpillar belongs to the Copper Underwing,
Amphipyra pyramidoides, and it is sometimes called a Humped Green Fruitworm, according to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae are general feeders on leaves of many broadleaf trees and shrubs, including apple, basswood, hawthorn, maple, oak, walnut, raspberry, viburnum, grape, greenbrier (Smilax)” and thanks to your submission, our readers will know to also search for them feeding on Azalea.

Gosh, that was quick!
Thanks so much, he is quite beautiful.
Thanks again.
Joanne K

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillar?
Location: Upstate New York
May 26, 2016 5:44 am
We found this under a tree. He is about 2 inches long. His underbelly is green with black spots. There are 2 black ‘spikes’ near his rear end. It is almost June here in Albany, NY.
Signature: Abbie Donnelly

Underwing Caterpillar

Underwing Caterpillar

Dear Abbie,
We believe based on your image and descriptions that this is one of the Underwing Caterpillars in the genus
Catocala, but we are unable to provide you with an exact species.  You may browse through BugGuide to see some similar looking Caterpillars.  Here is a BugGuide image showing a green underside with black spots.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Surprise Tenant Larva
Location: Coryell County, TX
April 19, 2016 9:22 pm
Hello, hope you are both well.
I discovered this larva living inside one of the blooming apple-blossom amaryllis plants. Its abdomen end looks remarkably like a snake’s face to me, and its body also resembles a bird dropping when curled. It curled up when I moved it gently to the petals, and when moved back it resumed its head-down, posterior snake-face-showing stance. It has gold iridescent spots along lateral (subdorsal?) lines.
As you can see, it’s eating itself out of house and home. 😀
I tried to match it to known moths and butterflies in our county, but had no luck.
Lots of rain this week, upper 60’s and cloudy.
Thank you!
Signature: Ellen

Cutworm

Cutworm

Hi Ellen,
We believe this is a Cutworm, the caterpillar of an Owlet Moth in the family Noctuidae.  We have a difficult time distinguishing different species as so many caterpillars in this large family look so similar.  You can try browsing BugGuide to see if you find any likely candidates.  Many species are not terribly particular about what plants they feed upon, which complicates identification.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination