What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Velvety Caterpillar With a Heart
Location: Rose Hill/Montecito Hts, CA
March 8, 2013 11:51 am
Hi Daniel,
While I have quite a few images I want to send you of many insects I can’t identify I am especially excited to send you this one.
I found him (her?) this morning as I moved my chicken’s snack dish on the ground. I am proud to say that I managed to save this startled soul and fend off four very hungry girls while I whisked him to the safety of my kitchen floor for a photo shoot.
Now this is a fast little bugger – and probably for good reason. I usually find his kind in and around the chicken coop under hay , boards & dishes. More often than not a watchful eye & hungry beak snap them up before I can intervene… they are approximately an inch in length and their heads about the size of a millet seed.
As I type this I am hit with a thought: Soldier Beetle? Yes! I do believe this is a soldier beetle larvae with a lovely heart on it’s back. Can you confirm?
If it’s a soldier beetle it certainly explains their lessening numbers in my back yard since I got the chickens!
Thank you in advance.
PS after the photo shoot I released him into a flower pot on my front porch in a chicken-free zone.
Signature: joAnn

Soldier Beetle Larva

Soldier Beetle Larva

Hi joAnn,
When we first looked at the thumbnail of this creature rolled in a ball, we thought it looked like a Cutworm, which often roll into a ball like this image from BugGuide, and we thought we were going to have to write back to you that you should not have saved if from the chickens if you value your tender garden plants, however, upon seeing the higher resolution images, we agree that this looks like a Soldier Beetle larva based on photos posted in our archive as well as to BugGuide and to pBase.  Considering your location near our own offices, this Soldier Beetle Larva is most likely that of the Brown Leatherwing,
Pacificanthia consors, a species common in our own yard in the spring.  We are tagging this posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award because of your kindness to the lower beasts.

Soldier Beetle Larva

Soldier Beetle Larva

Subject: Velvet Caterpillar Pt 2
Location: Rose Hill/Montecito Hts, CA
March 8, 2013 11:57 am
Hi Daniel,
I realize that I sent you the wrong image – well, they are all images of what I believe is the soldier beetle larvae, but this on in particular has the heart visible.
Best,
Signature: joAnn

Soldier Beetle Larva

Soldier Beetle Larva

Thanks joAnn,
We had already lightened your previous photos and the marking you mentioned is visible, but we will include this image as well.

Hi Daniel,
This is a long overdue email. Life & work got in the way keeping me from a timely response.
Thank you for taking the time to help identify my “velvet caterpillar” I haven’t seen many more of them but I am hopeful that I will still have plenty of beetles later on in the season.
My yard has now moved on to host the latest caterpillar du jour, wooly bears! I will enjoy them while they last 🙂
I love your site and go through it every chance I get.
Kind regards,
joAnn


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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Montecito Heights, Los Angeles, California

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