Caterpillars feeding on speckled alder
Fri, Nov 7, 2008 at 1:14 PM
I really like your website – it’s been very helpful in identifying many of the insects that I’ve found. These caterpillars I’m having a hard time with though. I saw them during the summer, munching on speckled alder leaves on an island in Georgian Bay. As you can see in the photograph, they are yellow, black and white striped, with reddish orange heads and a big reddish bump a little ways behind the head as well. They have several hairs and stiff black spikes along them. Do you know what they are?
Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada

Red Humped Caterpillars

Red Humped Caterpillars

Hi Kristin,
It took us a bit of searching before we were able to identify your Red Humped Caterpillars, Schizura concinna, but we eventually located it on BugGuide where it is described as:  ” has bright red head and red hump over segment A3.  Striping is variable but includes black, yellow and white pinstripes.  Takes up a defensive posture raising the rear end when disturbed. ” This is a Prominent Caterpillar in the family Notodontidae.

2 Responses to Red Humped Caterpillar

  1. Maya says:

    So, this looks like what I am seeing all over my yard – they have never been here in the high desert of Joshua Tree, CA, but now they seem to be everywhere. My dogs want to eat them but I don’t know if they are poisonous. . . any info much appreciated!

    • bugman says:

      According to BugGuide data, they are found in California. According to BugGuide: “Larvae feed on a wide range of woody plants, from many different families.” That is circumstantial evidence that you have encountered Red Humped Caterpillars, but we are reluctant to identify a Caterpillar without seeing an image. You may submit an image by using the Ask WTB? link on our site. To the best of our knowledge, they are not poisonous.

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