The Bug Lady
Well, I just got lost in my new book, Caterpillars of Eastern North America by Wagner. Wow, that is some awesome book, definitely worth the money. But, unfortunately it didn’t answer my question about the caterpillar that I have been trying to ID. It closely resembles the Hesitant Dagger Moth Caterpillar, Acronicta haesitata on the website Caterpillars of Eastern Forests. Since the different instars can look different, I was convinced that was what it was until I read that there were several different Dagger Moths with similar looking caterpillars. So, unless you can tell me differently, then that is what I’m going to say it is. By the way, you will notice that a lot of the pictures I send you, the caterpillars are on wood. At Lindenwood Nature Preserve, my favorite trail that goes to the pond has 3 boardwalks. That is where I seem to find all the caterpillars. I figure they either fell out of a tree or climbed up from the vegetation under the boardwalk. At any rate, I figure they know where they are going, so I just leave them where I find them.
Judy Whitton, the Bug Lady
Hi again Judy,
We looked at all the Dagger Moth Caterpillars posted on BugGuide, and we think this looks most like the Ovate Dagger Moth, Acronicta ovata.
This is the picture I was going by, I think the spots most look like this one.
But like they said, some of the caterpillars are so hard to distinguish apart, you would probably have to raise them to find out what they really are. They don’t allow collecting, so that is not an option for me. LOL Anyways, thanks for looking and hope you enjoy the other link I sent you.
Hi again Judy,
The new link you provided does look like a match, but the text also mentions the Ovate Dagger Caterpillar looking similar.