Purple and orange caterpillar
September 1, 2009
I found this odd little caterpillar on a Black Locust tree near my house in south-western Pennsylvania. I tried searching through books and the internet, hoping to find out what this little guy is with no luck. [S]he is about 2″ long. Hopefully you can help identify the bugger!
Pittsburgh Area, Pennsylvania
We started by searching the Owlet Moth Caterpillars on BugGuide, and then progressed to the Prominent Caterpillars. Eventually we identified your Black Spotted Prominent Caterpillar, Dasylophia anguina, on BugGuide. Distinguishing features according to Craig Biegler on BugGuide include: “the black ‘shoulder’ spot, shiny black ‘button’ on A8, raised rear end, elongated anal prolegs.” The Caterpillars of the Eastern Forests website indicates: “Splendidly rendered in shiny lavender, orange (or red), yellow, and black; both color and pattern variable. Head orange and unmarked. Middorsal and 2 or 3 subdorsal and supraspiracular stripes, these thin, broken, and black; subdorsal stripe orange, broad; spiracular stripe lemon, broad. Eighth abdominal segment with black dorsal button. Subventer with line of raised shiny black spots just above legs. Food: lead plant, locusts, and other legumes. Caterpillar: June to October; apparently 2 generations.”