Subject: What is this caterpillar
Location: east central Indiana
August 22, 2013 4:08 am
My son found this caterpillar munching milkweed in Indiana and we haven’t been able to ID it. Can you help please?
Your caterpillar’s identity is eluding us, though we did find what looks like the same caterpillar unidentified on Michael Powell’s Blog which has numerous nice caterpillar photos. Mr. Powell states: “I came across this colorful specimen while on a nature walk at a local marsh. He was close enough to the edge of the path that I was able to set up my tripod and shoot with my macro lens, so I was able to get a reasonable depth of field. I don’t have the slightest idea what kind of a caterpillar this is, but I really like his colors and all of the hairy, spiny things sticking out of his body (even if they made focusing a bit of a challenge).” We then searched our own archives and we found a Smeared Dagger Moth Caterpillar, Acronicta oblinita, which looks like a good match, but we were not aware they fed on milkweed. According to BugGuide, it feeds on: “A variety of forbs, shrubs, and trees.” It is also called a Smartweed Caterpillar.