unusual caterpillar
Hi from Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), British Columbia, Canada. I’m way out of my league on caterpillars and the local experts are stumped as well. Sure hope you can point me in the right direction. I just don’t want to disappoint members of the public who are interested in nature. Kind regards,
Berry Wijdeven
Species at Risk Recovery Coordinator
Ministry of Environment

unusual caterpillar
Hi Berry,
Here is the photo of the strange caterpillar which I found on a lavatera plant at our place. We have never seen one like it before, and it would be interesting to find out what kind of moth or butterfly it turns into. I just left it alone, and it disappeared—maybe we will spot an unusual butterfly in the spring. Regards,
Marlene Specht

Hi Barry and Marlene,
Our only thought was this might be one of the Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillars in the genus Cucullia, so we checked BugGuide. We followed a link to the genus Melanchra and found your caterpillar, known as the Black Arches, Melanchra assimilis. It is an Owlet Moth that feeds on a wide variety of plants, but it does not list Lavatera. The caterpillar is found in both green and brown forms, both with the bold yellow stripes and black outlines depicted in the photo you provided.

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