help identifying a caterpillar
Location: Tse Bonito, NM 20 mi W of Gallup
August 24, 2010 8:47 pm
I’ve looked through several books and have searched every source I know of on the web. I hope you and staff can help me to identify this creature.
This is a beautiful caterpillar. We found a match for your caterpillar on BugGuide, but alas, it is an unidentified Hooded Owlet Moth caterpillar in the genus Cucullia, and it is also from New Mexico. The caterpillars feed on plants in the aster family, and this is supported by evidence in your photographs. According to the genus information page on bugGuide: “Larva: usually smooth (hairless) and very colorful, with mixed patterns of spots, stripes, and/or patches of mostly yellow, red, green, blue, and black – the range of variation between species is too complex to describe in general terms.“
Thank you so much for identifying the caterpillar for me. I looked on the BugGuide but I guess I’m not familiar with the search capabilities enough to find it.