What Larvae is This?
June 10, 2010
I’d like to know what moth or butterfly caterpillar this is. It’s on a grape vine and is a little over an inch long.
Houston area, Texas
We know we have seen images of this Moth Caterpillar in the past, but we cannot recall what it is. It superficially resembles the caterpillars of the Grape Leaf Skeletonizers in the genus Harrisina pictured on BugGuide, but that is not a correct identification. We are going to post your photo and letter and we hope that our readership can assist in the identification. Though your photograph is quite lovely the way you have composed it, we cropped it to more closely concentrate on the caterpillar.
Thanks for the response, Daniel. I’ll check back to see if anyone has more info.
Karl provides some information
Hi Daniel and Jayne:
This caterpillar probably looks familiar to you because it looks similar to several that have been posted on WTB before. It looks a lot like a Fruit-Piercing Moth (Noctuidae) in the genus Gonodonta, but all the white hairs on the body suggest it is likely another Noctuid, a day-flying Forester Moth in the genus Alypia. Many of these moth caterpillars look quite similar and the head and tail regions are not visible in Jayne’s photo, but I think it is likely an Eight-Spotted Forester (Alypia octomaculata), previously posted by Laura in 2007. You can use the WTB search function to also find numerous images of adults. There are many good caterpillar images on the internet, like this one on pbase. Eight-Spotted Forester caterpillars feed on grapes and Virginia Creeper. I can’t say for certain that that is the genus, but that I am pretty sure that Alypia is the correct genus. Regards.
Now I’ve had a chance to look at photos of the moth — I think I can confirm that it is an Eight Spotted Forester. I remember seeing what I took to be a black butterfly with white spots on the Star Jasmine a month or so back. It looked exactly like the photos I found online.
Jayne provides photos of imago Eight Spotted Forrester
June 11, 2010
I’m attaching some photos that I took at the end of May that I thought were of butterflies. Now I know they were Eight-Spotted Forester Moths.
Thanks for posting my original caterpillar photo, and to Karl for providing more information.