Subject:  What is this guy?
Geographic location of the bug:  Raleigh NC
Date: 04/15/2021
Time: 06:38 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this odd critter on my back porch. About 3” long, relatively flat. Would love to get him to the correct habitat and what he will become.
How you want your letter signed:  Lisa & Doug

Underwing Caterpillar, probably

Dear Lisa & Doug,
We believe this is an Underwing Caterpillar in the genus Catocala, but we haven’t the required skills to provide you with a species identification.  Due to its size, we suspect this individual was searching for an appropriate place in which to pupate.  Of one species, the Bug Lady on the University of Milwaukee website states:  “When it’s time to pupate, they make a minimalist pupal case using silk and leaf litter.”  We would release it on the ground in a protected area with leaf litter that will not be cleared in the near future.  Many pupating caterpillars form a cocoon in leaf litter on the ground, and fastidious leaf raking in suburban yards likely produces numerous casualties.  Underwing Moths are so named because their forewings are often camouflages to resemble bark, while the underwings are brightly colored.  The moth attracts attention when flying and then disappears, thwarting a predator, when it lands on a tree trunk.

Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *