Subject: Unknown Caterpillar
Location: Daphne, Alabama
August 15, 2016 5:16 pm
Hello, I’ve tried in vain to ID this possible looper or inchworm, and hope you can help!
I found several of them feeding on Rattlebox plants on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, Alabama last week. Thanks for any info you can provide!
Signature: Joe Thomassen
This was a tricky one. Loopers or Inchworms are distinguished from most caterpillars that have five pairs of prolegs in that they only have only two pairs of prolegs, causing them to “loop” as they move. Your caterpillar actually has two pairs of prolegs, but it also has appendages appearing to be a horn at the tip of the abdomen. Some Owlet Moth relatives in the superfamily Noctuoidea have a similar fake horn, so we searched that superfamily, and it is a big superfamily. We eventually discovered the Legume Caterpillar or Pale-Edged Selenis, Selenisa sueroides, thanks to BugGuide where it is described as: “Larva: body cream or yellow with dull reddish or yellow lateral markings and several thin black dorsal stripes; two reddish or yellowish prolegs; two long anal appendages project backward from last abdominal segment; head reddish with numerous black spots.”