Yellow Caterpillars in Outfits
October 1, 2009
Size: about 3/4″
When: Oct 1, 2009, 9:45AM
Where: Underside of native Jimsonweed leaves, on a large sunny meadow off Riverside Drive.
I’d been hoping to find Hawk Moth caterpillars since there was such a huge patch of Jimsonweed. Most of the plants had only tiny bites taken out of them. The plants that had the largest bites had these fat little caterpillars with what looks like bird excrement hanging off their backs. Great camouflage!
Also intersting – the chewed edges of the leaves are blackened, appearing as if they had been burned. (See photo) The plants with tiny bites had no black marks like these.
Los Angeles, Elysian Park
If it looks like a caterpillar and acts like a caterpillar, it is not necessarily a caterpillar. Many beetle larvae and sawfly larvae are confused with caterpillars. These are not caterpillars. They are beetle larvae, and more specifically, they are Old Fashioned Potato Beetle Larvae, Lema daturaphila, also called Three-Lined Potato Beetles. According to BugGuide, the scientific name “Means ‘Datura loving.’ Datura is a genus of plant in the Nightshade family. The potato is not in the genus Datura, but is in the Nightshade family. This beetle feeds on both potato plants and other members of the Nightshade family.” We noticed that you have the embedded location information as the 18 acre parcel on Riverside Drive. We know that land, but never knew it was part of Elysian Park. We have a certain fondness for Elysian Park. That is where we found our cat as a stray kitten 11 years ago, and he is just the sweetest cat ever.
Thank you! I’ll credit What’s that bug? (with a link) for the ID. I’ll be posting a similar photo on my blog http://redcarproperty.blogspot.com/ probably Monday. Feel free to use the photo I sent you as long as my photo credit is on it. No wonder I couldn’t find it under caterpillars.
By the way, that part of Elysian Park is undergoing environmental review for park improvements, see: http://www.theeastsiderla.com/2009/10/do-you-want-park-or-parking-lot.html