Hi. I do a lot of nature photography. I’m usually fairly successful at identifying the critters I find… but this one has me stumped! I’ve never seen one that I recall but I found the transparent jelly-like covering to be very interesting. It sort of has the strange appearance of a separate caterpillar inside. Can you please tell me what sort of caterpillar this might be? I’m located in Southern Middle Tennessee if that helps. Thank you,
The reason you could not identify your caterpillar is that it is not a caterpillar. This is a carnivorous, aphid-eating larva of a Syrphid Fly. Syrphid Flies are one of the most beneficial insects a home gardener can be lucky to have. Since the larvae eat aphids and the adult, bee mimic Syrphid Flies pollinate flowers, having Syrphid Flies is a win/win situation. See more Syrphid Fly Larvae and get more information on BugGuide.