caterpillar found in slot canyon in central New Mexico
Did this submission come through OK the other day? I ask because I see that the update I sent about the Hop Merchant later on is now on the Web site, but the photo of this caterpillar is not. Thank you very much! Ruth
This little guy was found in mid-February in San Lorenzo Canyon, located near the town of Lemitar in the Rio Grande Valley. It was found on the underside of a rock, and was about 1-1.5 inches long. The area overall is very dry although there is a small seeping spring about 100 yards from where we spotted it. There was little or no nearby vegetation so I do not know what it would eat. Its hair-sprouting blobs look something like those of the satin moth, but the pattern and coloration are very different. Someone on BugGuide suggested Harrisina, but this one is bigger and much hairier than that, and we saw no other caterpillars with it – not to mention there’s a distinct lack of grapevines in its neighborhood. 🙂 Of course it might have recently arrived there by hitchhiking or falling from the top of the canyon, rather than being native to the vicinity. I checked out all the images of caterpillars on your terrific site but saw nothing that quite resembled him. In particular, his yellow bands with orange blobs sprouting dark hairs are pretty distinctive. Any ideas? Thank you very much!

Sorry Ruth,
With the amount of mail we get, the time needed to do research and postings, and the fact that things like jobs interfere with our quality website time, we just cannot answer every letter. Additionally, we do not recognize this caterpillar. We will post it and see what happens.

Update (04/28/2006)
I have an ID on the caterpillar I submitted last week. Thanks to the folks at NMSU’s Arthropod Museum, I now know that he is a Dysschema howardi, the largest tiger moth found in New Mexico.

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