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Please help ID this Caterpillar.
October 18, 2009
I am truly flummoxed about what this Caterpillar is, even after throughly Googling it, looking through my extensive “Caterpillar of N. America field guide, and posting pics of it to another site (Bugguide.net, where the closest ID was “Owlet Moth”…but none of the Owlet Caterpillars look like this). The plant it is on (and ingesting) is “Golden-Aster” (Heterotheca latifolia). It has a series of color combinations and sizes(perhaps ‘instars’?), but all individuals of the largest size look like the pics I am attaching. Dozens showed up suddenly on the plants that grow in very sandy soil all around where I live. I have found them in other N. Texas (Dallas-Ft. Worth) areas. ID help would be appreciated.
Tzila “Z” Duenzl
Horseshoe Bend, Weatherford, Texas

Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Dear Tzila,
This is an Owlet Moth Caterpillar, more specifically, a Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar in the genus Cucullia, probably the Brown Hooded Owlet, Cucullia convexipennis, which can be viewed in numerous photos on BugGuide.  The food plant aster is corroborating evidence of the identification.  Your photos are spectacular.

Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Ok…thanks Daniel. This was suggested on BugGuide (I submitted my pics for ID – look under “mtwoman”), but when I looked at the BugGuide guide pics of the Brown Hooded Owlet caterpillar, the coloring seemed different enough for me to question that ID. Could the coloring be different (lighter and more orange/yellow than red) because of the instar/age of the caterpillar? Anyway thanks! And thanks for the compliment!! You can see more of my pics on BugGuide under user name  “mtwoman” (for “Mountain Woman”).
Tzila “Z” Duenzl

Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillars are notoriously variable in coloration.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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