What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Who can it be now?
Location:  meadow garden, Outer Banks, North Carolina
October 2, 2010 1:28 pm
Bugman,
Found this interesting caterpillar eating my goldenrod flowers, Solidago canadensis. Can you identify, please?
Signature:  seedmoney

Might this be The Asteroid???

Dear seedmoney,
We believe this must be the highly variable Goldenrod Hooded Owlet Caterpillar,
Cucullia asteroides, which we tentatively identified on BugGuide.  Perhaps it is just the angle of view of your photograph, but the head on your caterpillar looks very small compared to the heads of the Hooded Owlet Caterpillars posted to BugGuideBugGuide has no images of caterpillars of the Goldenrod Hooded Owlet with such minimal markings, and the pink and green color reminds us of ice cream indicating that it must be edible.  Perhaps David Gracer will provide a comment.

Also called The Asteroid, the Goldenrod Hooded Owlet Caterpillar just sent us off careening in another direction.  We are going to have to contact Dr. Krupp from the Griffith Observatory to get his take on a Caterpillar named for an astronomical body.  We are going to pitch a book collaboration with Dr. Krupp, a book called Insects and other Heavenly Bodies, and Daniel hopes Dr. Krupp might consider the proposal.  Daniel respects many people in the world, but few more than Dr. Krupp, the archeoastronomer who has been the Director of the Griffith Observatory since 1974 or 1796 or so.  He was the director during the 1990s when Lisa Anne Auerbach and Daniel were the photography staff at the Griffith Observatory and they self published The Casual Observer, the legendary notorious zine that is only available in the collections of two museums, The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City and the venerable and wildly popular Griffith Observatory, arguably the most historic structure and publicly recognizable landmark in the entire city of Los Angeles.  The Griffith Observatory has appeared in numerous movies, including Rebel Without A Cause, Earth Girls are Easy, The End of Violence, Devil in a Blue Dress, and the not so authorized Flesh Gordon (Disclaimer: This is a PG rated movie trailer to an adult themed film with comedic artistic merit).

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Outer Banks, North Carolina

4 Responses to Probably Green Owlet Caterpillar

  1. Dave says:

    Edibility comment:
    The fact that these caterpillars generally eat goldenrod and aster makes me think that they’re edible. But this is a tricky area of insect consumption, and the only reasonable position is to treat all insect species as one would wild mushrooms: unless there’s previous documentation confirming edibility through previous consumption, avoid eating any.

    I have seen some commentary suggesting that all smooth-skinned caterpillars are safe to eat. I can’t recommend such a policy. There are some beetle species in North America that can probably kill the human consumer, and the same might be true of some North American lepidoptera.

  2. emily says:

    I don’t think the pictured caterpillar is The Asteroid; I’m thinking it is this one:
    http://bugguide.net/node/view/1140220/bgimage
    Like the Asteroid, the Green Owlet caterpillar feeds on goldenrod and asters.

  3. Ashley says:

    This is the white-dotted groundling caterpillar (Condica videns), not an asteroid or owlet.

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