Subject: Mr. Caterpillar, WHO are YOU?
Geographic location of the bug: San Diego, CA
Time: 11:41 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: My 6-year-old wants to be an entomologist when he grows up. As he puts it, “I care for the earth and small creatures!” He found this caterpillar at the park today. He eagerly consulted his beloved Southern California Butterfly/Moth Pamphlet, but this caterpillar was not pictured. I promised him I’d ask you for help!
How you want your letter signed: SoCal Insect Hobbyists
Dear SoCal Insect Hobbyists,
This is a Cutworm, the common name for many caterpillars in the subfamily Noctuinae. Cutworms are reviled by many home gardeners because of the manner in which the caterpillars feed. Cutworms will cut a sprouting plant at ground level in order to feed, effectively killing newly sprouted plants and seriously jeopardizing the survival of larger plants that might be able to sprout back from the roots. Most Cutworms develop into drab, brown moths.