A compromised inchworm?
January 6, 2010
I found what I believe is an inchworm clinging to a blackberry leaf with her abdominal prolegs today, January 5.
The problem is, his/her head and thorax/legs are barely recognizable. The head area is almost split in two.
I found some skin on a leaf beside her. I wonder if a moulting process can look this horrible; either that, or could it be that the inchworm hasn’t fully developed? (The latter does not make sense to me, because I realize that insects typically hatch fully developed and simply grow/moult in the larval stage.)
This caterpillar was able to move just fine, as if otherwise healthy, but could only grab things with her prolegs… the head area is really looking bad!
Southwestern British Columbia, Canada
We are not certain what species of Inchworm this is, and we haven’t the time to research it at the moment. It is difficult to tell from your photographs if there is anything unusual with the physiognomy. In the event there was trauma of some sort, a predator perhaps, we are uncertain how long a compromised caterpillar can continue to live. Perhaps one of our readers has the time to research the species.
Immediately after posting, we tried to do a websearch of geometridae and blackberry, and we believe this is a Blackberry Looper, Chlorochlamys chloroleucaria, as pictured on BugGuide. Though the coloration is different, the structure of the head is consistent with your photo.
I did read the other emails, and I’m very glad for your answer!
I don’t know how to find it online.
Will need to visit your site more often!