Subject:  Black and yellow spiny caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Clinton, IL
Date: 08/26/2018
Time: 01:21 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My son and I found this hiking in a heavy wooded area. We have no idea what species it is. We did find Colobura dirce but that’s inky found in Central America. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
How you want your letter signed:  Ray and RJ Alvarado

Eastern Comma Caterpillar

Dear Ray and RJ,
We believe this is a Moth Caterpillar in the subfamily Hemileucinae, possibly a Buck Moth Caterpillar,
Hemileuca maia, which is pictured on BugGuide.  The coloration on your individual is different from any other images we have located.  We have requested assistance from Bill Oehlke on this identification.

Eastern Comma Caterpillar

Bill Oehlke makes correction:
Hi Daniel,
I think it is more likely a butterfly larva from Nymphalidae family.

Thanks so much Daniel. My son is super excited about finding a color that’s not normal.

Hold tight Ray.  We are going to have a correction for you.

Correction:  Eastern Comma Caterpillar
Hi again Ray,
After hearing from Bill Oehlke that this was more likely a Nymphalidae butterfly caterpillar, we located an image on BugGuide of an Eastern Comma Caterpillar,
Polygonia comma, and then located a second BugGuide image as substantiation.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed primarily on Hops (Humulus) and Nettles (Urtica, but also False Nettle (Boehmeria), Wood Nettle (Laportea), Elm (Ulmus), and probably other members of families Urticaceae and Ulmaceae.”  Despite having over 26,000 unique posting, this is the first image we have of an Eastern Comma Caterpillar on our site, though we have several images of adult Eastern Commas.

Perfect. Thanks for the follow up and you guys are welcome to use our pics if you’d like.
Ray Alvarado

Location: Clinton, Illinois

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