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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillars in the Yacatan jungle
Location: Coba ruins , tulum area
November 21, 2016 12:29 pm
Hello,
Please take a look at this Catapillar. We found clusters of these in the jungle at the coba ruins in the tulum area. At the base of the tree , directly below them was a whole bunch of little pellets. We’re curious what this Catapillar is and what it turns into. I hope you can help.
Signature: Petra

Arsenura armida aggregation

Arsenura armida aggregation

Dear Petra,
This Project Noah image gives us confidence that this is an aggregation of Caterpillars of the Giant Silkmoth
Arsenura armidaWe have several images in our archives that look similar.  Thanks so much for including the image of the droppings.  This Cortland Faculty website has some nice information including:  “This large Neotropical silkmoth is the only species in the genus Arsenura that exhibits sociality.  Other Arsenura are solitary and cryptic, but A. armida has adopted an aposematic and gregarious lifeyle.  It may be the only social representative of the subfamily Arsenurinae which occurs from tropical Mexico to northern Argentina and contains approximately 57 spp., very few of which are known from the early stages (Lemaire, 1980; Hogue, 1993).
Arsenura armida occurs from tropical Mexico to Bolivia and southeastern Brazil.  In the tropical dry forest of Pacific Mexico and Central America, its caterpillars are found on Guazuma ulmifolia (Sterculiaceae), Rollinia membranacea (Annonaceae), and Bombacopsis quinatum (Bombacaceae) (Janzen and Hallwachs, 2002).  Larvae emerge shortly after the rainy season in May, after passing the long dry season as a solitary and dormant pupa in a chamber excavated 2-10 cm below the soil surface.  Part of the first generation enters a dormant pupal stage and part ecloses about 35-55 days after pupation, to create a second generation in November-December.  All of the second generation pupae become dormant until the following start of the rainy season.
The young larvae are brightly aposematically ringed yellow and black with red heads, and remain together diurnally feeding side by side in large masses on the leaves.  Costa, Fitzgerald, and Janzen (2001) studied this species in Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica, and showed that the larvae use a trail pheromone to maintain group cohesion. Larval trail-following can be elicited by surface cuticular material collected by wiping from the venter and dorsum of the abdomen of A. armida caterpillars, as well as crude extracts of homogenated somatic tissue.  The long-lived trail marker appears to be a component of the cuticle passively deposited from the posterio-ventral region of the abdomen as larvae travel over the host plant.
In the fourth instar,
A. armida larvae dramatically change their foraging strategy, switching from nomadic to central place foraging.  Costa, Gotzek, and Janzen (in review) documented the details of this behavioral shift: in central place foraging mode the caterpillars begin to rest diurnally in large conspicuous masses on the lower trunk and underside of larger branches, mobilizing at dusk to forage nocturally as solitary larvae in the canopy.  They return to the lower trunk at dawn, using tree architecture and their trail pheromone to relocate conspecifics (which are generally confamilials) upon descending.  Although larvae often reuse the same resting (bivouac) sites, individual caterpillars do not exhibit strict site fidelity and may shift among sites once descended.  This shift in foraging behavior entails a concomitant change in reaction to the information content of their trail pheromone, from maintaining groups as the caterpillars move from patch to patch, to relocating distant resting sites.”  Based on that information, your individuals are fourth or fifth instars, meaning more mature caterpillars.

Droppings from Aggregation of Arsenura armida Caterpillars

Droppings from Aggregation of Arsenura armida Caterpillars

Thank you very much Daniel.
You have been so helpful. What a cool resource you are.
Petra

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Identity of caterpillar
Location: Lago Yojoa Honduras
November 13, 2016 10:20 pm
Saw this guy in the Lago Yojoa area of Honduras just today, November 13, 2016. It was shortly after noon and he was very active. Do you know what it is?
Signature: Tammy

Giant Silkmoth Caterpillar:  Leucanella species

Giant Silkmoth Caterpillar: Leucanella species

Dear Tammy,
This is a Giant Silkmoth Caterpillar from the genus
Leucanella.  They should be handled with caution as the spines are capable of stinging.

Giant Silkmoth Caterpillar:  Leucanella species.

Giant Silkmoth Caterpillar: Leucanella species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Ascalapha (Probrably)
Location: South of Brazil
November 7, 2016 7:38 am
Every year, these caterpillars came and use to stay in different species of trees. The most commum tree is the Prunus selowii. They use to stay in a big group , normally .8 m to 1,0 abovo the ground. They are very predate by hemiptera insesct, as you can see in the picture.
Totally inofensive, I means, they don´t provoque any irritation in the skin when manipulate.
Signature: Wilsonpni

Possibly Morpho Caterpillars

Giant Silkmoth Caterpillars

Dear Wilsonpni,
Though your caterpillars resemble the caterpillar of a Black Witch,
Ascalapha odorata, based on this BugGuide image, we do not believe that is a correct identification.  We are pretty certain Black Witch Caterpillars do not feed in such aggregations.  Though the color is different, your caterpillars remind us of Morpho Caterpillars from our archives.  We will contact Keith Wolfe to get his opinion.  The image of the Predatory Stink Bug nymph feeding on a Caterpillar is a nice addition to our Food Chain tag.

Olá Daniel,
Nope, sorry, these are moth caterpillars, those of Morpho appearing distinctly different.
Abraços,
Keith

Aggregation of possibly Morpho Caterpillars

Aggregation of probably Giant Silkmoth Caterpillars

Update:  November 8, 2016
Thanks to a comment from contributor Cesar Crash of Insetologia, we now believe these are Giant Silkmoth Caterpillars from the genus
Arsenura.

Predatory Stink Bug preys on Caterpillar

Predatory Stink Bug preys on Caterpillar

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillar
Location: Northeastern Houston TX
October 17, 2016 5:29 pm
I trimmed some branches off my small oak tree and when picking up the branches I felt a sting similar to a wasp sting in my hand. Within 30 minutes I was in blinding pain raidiating up my arm like my hand was on fire and broken and pain in the armpit. Pain lasted about 12 hours and 2 days later my arm is still sore. I’ve begun searching the oak for possible culprits, I’m leaning towards and asp caterpillar but haven’t found one yet. Instead I have found these two beauties. I’m going to keep searching. I’m thinking the one is a Polyphemus caterpillar. The other maybe a spiny oak slug?
Signature: Theresa in TX

Spiny Oak Slug Caterpillar

Spiny Oak Slug Caterpillar

Dear Theresa,
While one of your caterpillars is a harmless Polyphemus Moth Caterpillar, which you can verify by comparing to this BugGuide image, your other caterpillar is definitely a Spiny Oak Slug Caterpillar,
Euclea delphinii, which is also pictured on BugGuide.  There are many species of Stinging Slug Caterpillars in the family Limacodidae, and of the Spiny Oak Slug Caterpillar, BugGuide indicates:  “Caution, this is a stinging caterpillar. ”

Polyphemus Caterpillar

Polyphemus Caterpillar

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what is our caterpillar?
Location: Lagos Nigeria
Update:  October 14, 2016
Dear Daniel
Update on Emperor caterpillars week 2
Metamorphosis of Emperor caterpillars
Pupae stage?
When should I transfer to butterfly house?
Kr,
Chi

Emperor Moth Pupae

Emperor Moth Pupae

Dear Chi,
We are not certain what your butterfly house is.  These pupae of an Emperor Moth from the genus
Bunaea should be kept in moist, not damp soil until they emerge.  That may take a few weeks.  They should be kept so that they can crawl up after metamorphosis so that their wings can expand.

Update:  October 18, 2016
Pupae transferred to butterfly house on moist soil.
Every so often one end moves. Is this a mechanism to warn off predators? What if they don’t move ?
Kr,
Chi

Emperor Moth Pupae

Emperor Moth Pupae

Hi again Chi,
Thanks for keeping us updated on the metamorphosis of your Emperor Moth Caterpillars.  Pupae are able to wriggle their abdomens, and some species are more mobile than others.  We imagine they also go through periods when they move more.  We would not worry if they seem more stationary.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what is our caterpillar?
Location: Lagos Nigeria
October 7, 2016 1:01 am
Dear Bugman,
Greetings from Lagos nigeria!
This morning we found many of these wonderful creatures that fell from our tree.
I am going to pop them in my butterfly house so the children can see the life cycle.
We would love to know what we have.
African Emperor or Bunaea Alcinoe aka African Moth
Are they safe?
The spines look sharp
Signature: Chi

Emperor Caterpillars

Emperor Caterpillars

Dear Chi,
These are definitely Emperor Caterpillars from the genus
Bunaea.  Please send additional images to document the metamorphosis if you can.

Thanks Daniel,
I will do.
They are going in the butterfly house tomorrow.
How exciting!
Kr,
Chi

Update:  October 14, 2016
Dear Daniel
Update on Emperor caterpillars week 2
Metamorphosis of Emperor caterpillars
Pupae stage?
When should I transfer to butterfly house?
Kr,
Chi

Emperor Moth Pupae

Emperor Moth Pupae

Dear Chi,
We are not certain what your butterfly house is.  These pupae should be kept in moist, not damp soil until they emerge.  That may take a few weeks.  They should be kept so that they can crawl up after metamorphosis so that their wings can expand.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination