Currently viewing the category: "Caterpillars and Pupa"
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Subject: Inchworm Mayhem
Location: Mumbai, India
April 29, 2015 7:34 am
Dear Bugman,
These inchworms have wreaked havoc in my tiny balcony garden, fairly shredding my spider-plants to bits. Could you help id? I understand from your site that inchworms are geometrid moths caterpillars. It’s full summer now in India, and the photos are today’s (April 29). Another couple of days and it would’ve been ‘May’hem quite literally and figuratively 😀
Signature: Ankush



Dear Ankush,
Is your Spider Plant a Chlorophytum species like that posted on Wikipedia?  Knowing the food plant is often a big help with identifying caterpillars and other plant feeding insects.  We attempted a search with the genus name of the Spider Plant and the family name Geometridae, but to no avail.  You image is stunning and clearly shows the looping action the Inchworm uses to move about, a result of having fewer sets of prolegs than the typical caterpillar.

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Subject: Smurfapillar?
Location: San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico
April 27, 2015 4:09 pm
I found this bright blue little guy in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico. I tried to look him up online, and couldn’t seem to find anything remotely similar. He was crawling on the ground in a high desert area where I was walking my dog and taking pictures of Prickly Pear blossoms. The area had been fired, to kill weeds and pests, probably in January or February. The grasses and weeds are coming back pretty well, now, but there’s still a lot of ash and charred ground. I took a bunch of photos, but the guy was moving at a good clip…head and tail going like crazy.
Thanks for your time!
Signature: Tabitha

Unknown Blue Caterpillar

Unknown Blue Caterpillar

Dear Tabitha,
Like you, we were unable to locate any images of blue caterpillars from Mexico.  We believe this is a moth caterpillar.  Perhaps one of our readers will have more luck than we have had regarding an identity.

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Subject: Unidentified caterpillar
Location: West Virginia
April 25, 2015 3:51 am
This photo is a year or two old. It was an aggressive caterpillar that raised sex black horns when the branch he was on moved, so I’d call it defensive or aggressive.
Signature: Vanna

Hickory Horned Devil Hatchling

Hickory Horned Devil Hatchling

Hi Vanna,
Though your image is quite blurry, the shape of this caterpillar is quite distinctive.  We are guessing it was quite small and probably found in late spring.  We believe this is a Hickory Horned Devil hatchling,
Citheronia regalis, and you can compare your image to this image on BugGuide.  Most submissions that we receive of Hickory Horned Devils arrive toward the end of summer and they are of mature caterpillars that leave the trees they are feeding upon in search of an appropriate location to dig and pupateHickory Horned Devils are the largest North American caterpillars, and despite a fierce appearance, they are perfectly harmless.  Eventually a Hickory Horned Devil will metamorphose into the gorgeous Royal Walnut Moth or Regal Moth.

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Subject: Caterpillars in Costa Rica
Location: Monteverde, Costa Rica
April 24, 2015 10:28 am
What are these caterpillars, what are they going to turn into, why do they clump like this, and why does one (lower right) appear to have white things on it?
Signature: Ashley from the Monteverde Institute

Nymphalidae Caterpillars

Moth Caterpillars

Dear Ashley,
We believe these Caterpillars are in the Brush Footed Butterfly family Nymphalidae, and the caterpillar in question appears to have been parasitized by a Chalcid or Braconid Wasp.  We will contact Keith Wolfe to see if he can identify the caterpillars more specifically.

Nymphalidae Caterpillar parasitized by Wasp

Moth Caterpillar parasitized by Wasp

Keith Wolfe provides a correction
Hi Daniel,
Nope, these are immature moths, the scoli (spines) being much too long for any Neotropical nymphalid.
Best wishes,

After Keith Wolfe’s correction, we are now speculating that they are relatives of Buck Moths in the subfamily Hemileucinae and we will see if Bill Oehlke can provide any information.

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Subject: Tiniest inchworm
Location: South Central Kentucky
April 21, 2015 10:50 am
This morning I found this inchworm near my neck. We have a garden and chickens and many new fruit trees. Also there was a stray puppy here yesterday. So between all that, no clue where this came from. Found it on April 21. It has been about 65-80 degrees this last week with a LOT of rain. This worm is about the size of a thread and about 1/4 to 1/2 inch long. It is black with no markings visible to the eyes. The pic isn’t very good cuz the camera couldn’t focus close enough. Thank you for your reply but I understand if you don’t… Have a good day!
Signature: Reneé

Tiny Inchworm

Tiny Inchworm

Dear Reneé,
Though we are unable to provide you with a species identification, we are able to provide you with a response.  As you have indicated, this is an Inchworm or Spanworm in the family Geometridae.  The larvae from this family is characterized by having only two pairs of prolegs, three pairs fewer than most caterpillars, hence their locomotion is affected.  They move by a looping action as your image indicates.  Here is the explanation on BugGuide:  “[Geometridae Larvae] generally have only two pairs of prolegs (at the hind end) rather than the usual five pairs in most lepidoptera; the lack of prolegs in the middle of the body necessitates the peculiar method of locomtion, drawing the hind end up to the thoracic legs to form a loop, and then extending the body forward.”  This Inchworm probably fell from a tree in your garden.

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Subject: Caterpillar identification
Location: Fort Worth, TX
April 18, 2015 3:19 pm
Hi –
Any chance that you can tell me what kind of caterpillar this is? I have two young girls that are very curious about it.
Signature: Not sure what this means…

Forest Tent Caterpillar

Forest Tent Caterpillar

Your caterpillar is a Forest Tent Caterpillar, Malacosoma disstria.

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