Very abundant inch worm in Kasane, Botswana
Location: Kasane, Botswana
January 14, 2011 4:58 pm
I have seen this inch worm several times around my home in Kasane, Botswana. Right now it is the rainy season and is the only time I have seen this worm. It is very colorful and has almost feather like spikes. I did handle it and it was not poisonous. Do you know what this bug is or what it will become. It is very beautiful.
Signature: Laura Marchitto Massie
We are not entirely convinced that this is an Inchworm, a name along with Spanworm given to the caterpillars of moths in the family Geometridae because of the way that they crawl. According to Bugguide: “larvae generally have only two pairs of prolegs (at the hind end) rather than the usual five pairs in most lepidoptera; the lack of prolegs in the middle of the body necessitates the peculiar method of locomtion, drawing the hind end up to the thoracic legs to form a loop, and then extending the body forward.” The caterpillar in your photo has three pairs of prolegs, which is fewer than the five possessed by most caterpillars, hence its method of locomotion. BugGuide only indicates that “larvae generally have only two pairs of prolegs” which might mean that some individuals have three pairs. Your caterpillar also reminds us of that of the North American Funerary Dagger Moth which is depicted on BugGuide. We will attempt to get you a species identification, and until we determine otherwise, we will archive your letter with the Inchworms. Perhaps we can enlist assistance from our readership towards a conclusive identification of this interesting caterpillar.