Subject: Insect larva?
Location: Port Orchard, WA
November 23, 2016 10:06 pm
I found this critter on a wood fence in my garden on the west side of Puget Sound in western Washington state. I shot the attached picture during August. I tried to chase the i.d. down on the internet, but don’t have enough bug knowledge to find it. I’d love to hear your best guess. Thanks.
Signature: Jim McCausland
This is the Caterpillar of an Underwing Moth in the genus Catocala. While we cannot be certain of the species, your individual does resemble this Ilia Underwing Caterpillar posted to BugGuide, and according to BugGuide, the species is found in Washington. According to BugGuide: “Larvae feed on leaves of oak” so we are curious if there is an oak tree near where the sighting occurred.
Thanks so much for the i.d. Neither I nor my immediate neighbors have oak trees in the garden, but there is a native oak a few blocks away, plus some ornamental oaks the same distance. Maybe there are closer oaks in backyards that I can’t see from the street. But moths do fly, and I imagine a few blocks isn’t too far.
Other species of Underwings feed on other plants. According to BugGuide, the Charming Underwing feeds on apple and hawthorn, and it is reported from Alberta, Canada. Again, we are confident with the genus, not the species.