Subject: Can you identify?
Location: Orrstown, PA
September 22, 2014 6:28 am
I was wondering if you could tell me what kind of caterpillar this is? Found it eating one of my pine trees. Can you help me? I am worried about my trees. Please and thank you.
This is the caterpillar of an Imperial Moth, and recent taxonomic changes have resulted in the recognition of a subspecies, the Pine Imperial Moth, Eacles imperialis pini, with a caterpillar that feeds exclusively on conifers. According to BugGuide: “larvae feed exclusively on conifers, mainly White Pine and Red Pine; also recorded on Jack Pine, Scotch Pine, and White Spruce” and “uncommon and local in Ontario; rare and local in Quebec and elsewhere within its range.” Unless they are so plentiful as to defoliate plants, caterpillars are generally not much of a problem when they feed on trees. The few leaves, or in your case the few needles, that are lost do not have a negative impact on the health of the trees.
Thank you very much. I feel much better.