Subject: identify bug
Location: cuernavaca, morelos, mexico
February 2, 2017 10:42 pm
I am a biology teacher in Mexico and my kids found this bug. I am pretty sure it will turn into a butterfly or a moth, ad would like to identify it to make a case kid my students. Please help!
Signature: Teacher Nadine
Dear Teacher Nadine,
We are not certain if this is a Brushfooted Butterfly Caterpillar in the family Nymphalidae or an early instar Giant Silkmoth Caterpillar in the family Saturniidae, but we can tell you for certain it will not turn into either a butterfly or a moth as it has been attacked by a Parasitic Wasp that laid eggs upon it. The eggs hatched and the larval wasps feed on the internal organs, then emerged and pupated on the Caterpillar’s body. The wasp pupae are the white rice-like objects visible in your images. This caterpillar will die before reaching maturity. We will attempt to get a more definitive caterpillar identification from Keith Wolfe.
Keith Wolfe Responds
Dear Teacher Nadine and Professor Bugman,
Yes, this is an unfortunate immature saturniid, POSSIBLY in the genus Hylesia (sorry, moth caterpillars are not my forte).