Currently viewing the category: "Cutworms and Owlet Caterpillars"
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Subject: Please help to identify this caterpillar
Location: Apache Junction , Arizona
February 4, 2014 1:02 pm
Found This Caterpillar by some river rocks in the dirt in my backyard. not sure what it is or what it turns into. Please help.
Signature: Mike

Probably a Cutworm

Probably a Cutworm

Hi Mike,
We cannot say for certain, but this is most likely a Cutworm in the subfamily Noctuinae, which is a very large group of moths.  See BugGuide for additional information.

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Subject: The laugher
Location: Palmetto, Georgia
November 12, 2013 5:37 pm
I found a fuzzy white caterpillar, around mid-October, which I later researched and identified as ”The Laugher Moth”. I found it near an oak tree in my front yard, and found out that oak is what it feeds off of. I put it in a container with some sticks and some oak leaves and later that day it built it’s cocoon. It was amazing how intricate the cocoon was done! He made it between two oak leaves (with a stick in the middle)…the leaves were completely flat against each other, with the caterpillar and it’s cocoon inside. It’s been this way for about a month now, and the outer leaf of it’s enclosure as since detached. I read some more on this species and learned that in the pupae state, it overwinters. So, my question is: How long will my caterpillar be in this state, and will it emerge as a healthy moth once it is done?
Thanks!
P.S. I named him Snowball!
Signature: Concerned Caterpillar Mom

Laugher

The Laugher

Hi Concerned Caterpillar Mom,
Despite the blurriness of your photo, the Laugher,
Charadra deridens, has such a distinctive “face” that we believe your identification is correct.  This photo on BugGuide is a good reference.  Chances are good that you will see a healthy moth emerge in the spring.  We would advise you to keep the cocoon in a location where the temperature is similar to the outdoors.  Keep the cocoon out of direct sunlight and you might want to spray it occasionally with water to ensure it does not dry out.  Not all cocoons produce adult moths.  Some caterpillars fall prey to parasitic wasps and flies and though the caterpillar has entered the pupal stage, adult parasitic wasps or flies will emerge after feeding upon the nutrient rich pupa. 

Laugher Cocoon

Laugher Cocoon

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Subject: caterpillars everywhere!
Location: Guam
November 10, 2013 11:20 pm
Happened to step outside on my front porch and noticed a rather large gathering of these wormy looking fellows hanging around everywhere. Probably over 200 of them all along the driveway. They vary in size, but are all quite small (the largest I found was maybe an inch long?).. Very active, it was hard to take a picture of one since they were all moving pretty quickly. No idea where they came from, or when they even showed up.
Usually bugs come out in droves here when it rains, but it was a pretty dry day when I saw them. Nov 11 @ around 4pm.
Signature: JB

Unknown Caterpillars

Flame Tree Loopers

Hi JB,
The red heads on your caterpillars are very distinctive and it shouldn’t make identification too difficult.  We are preparing your posting and then we will research the species.

Unknown Caterpillars from Guam

Flame Tree Loopers from Guam

Our quick search did not produce any potential matches.  We will try again later and perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist in this matter.

Unknown Caterpillar from Guam

Flame Tree Looper

Thanks for the quick response! I’m excited to see what they are.. they disappeared as quickly as they came.. Don’t know if that is due to the large amount of geckos we have hanging around that enjoyed an all you can eat caterpillar buffet, or for some other reason. Maybe we will see a large explosion of moths or butterflies around our home soon! :)

Karl identifies Flame Tree Loopers
Hi Daniel and JB:
They look like Poinciana Loopers or Flame Tree Loopers (Pericyma cruegeri). These are Noctuid moths in the Family Erebidae or Noctuidae, depending on whether you prefer the new or old classification system. Similarly, the subfamily designation is either Erebinae or Catocalinae. The species is native to much of Southeast Asia and Australia but has been introduced to several Pacific islands, including Guam. As the name suggests, the caterpillars feed on Poinciana or flame Tree species, particularly the Yellow Flame Tree (Peltophorum pterocarpum; native to Southeast Asia) and the Royal Poinciana or Flamboyant (Delonix regia; originally from Madagascar). Both are now grown as ornamental trees throughout the tropical regions of the world and the Poinciana Looper is considered a serious pest of these tree species. There are at least two color morphs; one is predominantly green and the other is mostly black and white as in JB’s photos. If you want to learn more about the biology of these moths you can check out two online papers: “Biology of the Poinciana Looper, Pericyma cruegeri (Butler) on Guam” by R. Muniappan (1974); and, “Tree Pests of the Marianas” by Donald Nafus (U.S. Department of Agriculture). Regards.  Karl

Awesome!! So great to learn what these little guys were… not so great that they are an invasive pest! I ended up losing about 6 hours of my day looking at various bugs and caterpillars and now I can be at peace! Thanks so much for the detailed and informative answer. :)

 

 

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Subject: green caterpillar
Location: 30 miles from charlottesville Va in mountains
October 26, 2013 5:35 pm
Need id. Cat on an aster in blue ridge mountains.. oct. 18 . Near charlottesville
VA. Cant find name in wagners or on web sites. Thx
Signature: nancy n

Unknown Caterpillar

Hitched Arches Caterpillar

Hi Nancy,
Since you indicated this caterpillar was feeding on Aster, we checked the species of Hooded Owlet Moths in the genus
Cucullia that are posted to BugGuide, but we could not find a match.  We hope one of our readers can assist in this identification.  Are you certain this is an aster?  There appear to bee seed pods on the plant and asters do not have seed pods.

Unknown Caterpillar

Hitched Arches Caterpillar

I often take cat off of host plant to get picture and then return it. We found 6 of them on six different aster plants tho.  I dont know which aster variety.  Keep looking please.  Ive looked at all my resources. N

IM SENDING A FEW MORE PICS OF MY MYSTERY ASTER MOUNTAIN CATERPILLAR….NANCY  NEWMAN

Unknown Caterpillar on Aster

Melanchra adjuncta Caterpillar on Aster

Hi again Nancy,
We have added your additional photos to the posting.

Unknown Caterpillar on Aster

Hitched Arches Caterpillar on Aster

Hitched Arches identification courtesy of a comment by Frankie
Thanks Frankie,
You are absolutely right. The Hitched Arches is the perfect match based on the photos posted to BugGuide. We are going to update the posting thanks to your carefully researched comment.

Thanks to all of you who identified the Hitched Arches caterpillar for me.   What an amazing job you do!
N Newman
Nnature642

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Awesome Catepillar
Location: Columbia Basin Plateau in the Shrub Steppe Ecological site (sagebrush – bluebunch wheatgrass community
September 29, 2013 4:25 pm
I am hoping you can identify the black, white, and orange caterpillar shown in the attached photo. The photo was the best I could do with the little camera I had. the location is in Douglas County, North Central Washington State on Big Sagebrush/ Bluebunch Wheatgrass habitat type in the Columbia Basin. This was taken in late August. We observed an Elegant Sheep Moth and thought perhaps it was a caterpillar for that species but from looking at photos of the Elegant Sheep Moth caterpillar it does not appear so. I am hoping to get a nice SLR camera soon so will take better photos. Thanks to you all!
Signature: Randy Kelley

Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Hi Randy,
This is a Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar in the genus
Cuculia.  Based on your location and the markings on this caterpillar, we believe the likeliest candidate is Cuculia dorsalis, which according to BugGuide is found in the:  “western Rocky Rountains and the Great Basin.”

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Subject: Orange Cat
Location: Andover, NJ – backyard
September 24, 2013 7:33 am
I’m totally stumped by this one and hope you can help. It is a distinctive orange color with some yellow spots just above the face. The face is black/white and the tail has a point. It has some fine hairs, but is mostly hairless. It was making its way across a pavered walkway in our garden, apparently heading for the mulched area? Length, approximately one inch.
Signature: Deborah Bifulco

Unknown Moth Caterpillar

Clear Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Hi Deborah,
Other than figuring that this is a Moth Caterpillar, we haven’t a clue either.  We will post your photos and we hope someone will write in with a closer identification.  We cannot even provide a family at this time.

Unknown Moth Caterpillar

Clear Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Thanks for getting back to me,  Daniel.  I’ve also sent the photos to several local naturalists and so far ,  no one can identify it.  Quite a mystery.  I will drop you a note if I learn anything.

Update:  September 25, 2013
Thanks to a comment from one of our readers, we now know that this is a Clear Owlet Moth Caterpillar, Acronicta clarescens.  There are matching photos on BugGuide.

Hi again,
Just wanted to let you know that I found a local naturalist who identified this as a Clear Dagger Moth caterpillar (Acronicta clarescens).  Mystery solved…
Debbi

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination