What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Green, leaf-eating, slug-like insect
September 18, 2009
I found these two legless, hard-bodied slug-like insects eating my ornamental plum tree leaves. As you can see, the one on the right is shedding its skin. They look like little horseshoe crabs. I’ve never seen anything like them!
Holly Hanford Oliver
Southern New Hampshire

Skiff Moth Caterpillars

Skiff Moth Caterpillars

Hi Holly,
We doubt that these Skiff Moth Caterpillars, Prolimacodes badia, will ever be plentiful enough to damage your ornamental plum since they are small caterpillars and they will never be able to defoliate the tree.  Many members of this family, Limacodidae, have caterpillars with stinging spines, but the Skiff Moth Caterpillar is not one of those, so it is perfectly harmless.

Skiff Moth Caterpillar

Skiff Moth Caterpillar

Thanks, Daniel. These guys had me really baffled! I thought they might be some sort of exotic species. I’m not worried about my tree – there’s plenty to go around!
Thanks again,
Holly

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
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