Currently viewing the category: "Caterpillars and Pupa"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Colorful Ecuadorian caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Rio Silanche Sanctuary, Ecuador
Date: 04/21/2018
Time: 11:56 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Daniel, et al.
While visiting Ecuador mid-January 2017, I unfurled this Pyrginae  caterpillar from it’s shelter.  Sorry, I don’t know what plant it was on.  I wonder if one of your experts can tell me the name of the skipper.
Thanks much,
How you want your letter signed:  Dwaine

Skipper Caterpillar

Hi Dwaine,
This is a gorgeous caterpillar.  Upon embarking on identification research, we quickly found this very different, but also colorfully striped Skipper Caterpillar on FlickR and another Skipper Caterpillar (
Astraptes fulgerator) from Brazil on FlickR, shot by the same photographer, is an even closer match to your individual.  Despite the color difference, we would not rule out that your individual might be Astraptes fulgerator or another member of the genus.  Caterpillars often change color just prior to metamorphosis, and pink and purple are two colors some caterpillars assume when undergoing morphological changes.  This Biodiversity in Focus article cites the genus Astraptes and DNA identification, and it contains an image of some variability in Astraptes caterpillars based on food plants.  There are also images of Two-Barred Flasher Caterpillars on the North American Butterfly Association of South Texas site.  We will contact Keith Wolfe to see if he can provide any information.

Skipper Caterpillar

Thank you so much!!  That is a wealth of information I did not have.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Hong Kong
Date: 04/15/2018
Time: 11:52 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi there! We found these caterpillars on a lime plant we were growing in school. It is springtime in Hong Kong. There are many plants and trees in our playground, but there are no other lime plants here.  The lime plant was a growing project, And isn’t normally in the playground so I wonder if this is actually their usual food. Do you know what species these caterpillars are and what do they eat? Thank you
How you want your letter signed:  From Maddie

Common Mormon Caterpillars

Dear Maddie,
When caterpillars are found on a plant, one can with some assurance deduce that the caterpillar is feeding on that plant.  Butterflies and moths will lay eggs on plants that are suitable food sources for their caterpillars and that is what happened to your lime tree.  There are several species of Swallowtail Butterflies with similar looking caterpillars that feed on lime and other citrus tree leaves.  We believe your caterpillars are those of a Common Mormon,
Papilio polytes, and according to Butterflies of Singapore:  “The local host plants include the Indian Curry Leaf plant and various Citrus spp. One notable addition is the Mangrove Lime (Merope angulata) which was found to be utilized as larval host plant by members of the Plant Systematics group of the Department of Biological Sciences (NUS) in the recent past.”  The site also has nice images of the caterpillars and they look like your individuals.  We would not rule out that these might be the caterpillars of a Lime Swallowtail, Papilio demoleus, which is also pictured on the Butterflies of Singapore site.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Is this a sawfly and harmless
Geographic location of the bug:  Parramatta
Date: 04/12/2018
Time: 05:19 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
I found this eating my gardenia plant last night. Is this bug harmful to people.  Should I be concerned about dealing with the big as a garden pest?
How you want your letter signed:  Jen

Gardenia Bee Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Jen,
This is not a Sawfly.  It is a Gardenia Bee Hawkmoth Caterpillar and it will eventually become a diurnal moth that is sometimes mistaken for a bee, hence its common name.

Gardenia Bee Hawkmoth Caterpillar

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Unidentified eggs
Geographic location of the bug:  West Kirby uk on crabapple tree leaf
Date: 04/09/2018
Time: 02:50 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi do you know what these are?
How you want your letter signed:  N medley

Vapourer Moth Eggs

Dear N medley,
These are Vapourer Moth Eggs, and you can verify our identification by comparing your image to the images on Alamy and Alex Hyde Photography.  According to UK Moths:  “An unusual species in many ways, the males fly during the day but are often also attracted to light at night.  The females are virtually wingless, an attribute normally associated with winter-emerging species, but the adults are out from July to September, sometimes October in the south.  The female lays her eggs on what remains of the pupal cocoon, which then overwinter. When hatched, the very hairy caterpillars feed on a range of deciduous trees and shrubs.  The species is fairly common, especially in suburban habitats, over much of Britain, but more so in the south.”

Thank you so much! We’ll leave it alone then, but I suppose we may want to move some of the caterpillars off of our little tree!
best, Nancy

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Identification
Geographic location of the bug:  Howick kzn
Date: 04/10/2018
Time: 08:50 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Attached are two pics.  The one of a little creature which seems to be invading the garden at the moment …. looks like a kind of shongulolo (spell) because it curls ina little ball and poos on your hand …. we are not killing them but just interested where they might be coming from and what they are?   Second pic of a caterpillar we found walking the dogs… was under a plane tree and unfortunately many of them had been squashed in the road… quite sad … such lovely colors but wandering which butterfly\moth they might be… thanks very much xxxx
How you want your letter signed:  Elizabeth

Emperor Moth Caterpillar: Nudaurelia wahlbergi

Dear Elizabeth,
This is an Emperor Moth Caterpillar,
Nudaurelia wahlbergi.  The adult moth is pictured on African Moths, and information on the caterpillar can be found on Silkmoths and More.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Tomato caterpillars
Geographic location of the bug:  St. Elizabeth, Jamaica
Date: 04/09/2018
Time: 09:04 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello Bugman!
I’ve  been enjoying your website for years  and I am now excited to submit my first question! I am a Peace Corps volunteer serving in Jamaica and my host father is growing some of the most beautiful tomatoes in the entire world. However there is an aggressive caterpillar pest Wreaking havoc on his produce. I am trying to encourage less toxic methods to deal with such pests in the community and I was hoping that you could identify the species of caterpillar for me in order to create a more targeted management method. Thank you so much for your help and keep up the good work!
How you want your letter signed:  Farming PCV

Cutworm

Dear Farming PCV,
This is some species of Cutworm in the family Noctuidae, and many caterpillars in the family look very similar.  Our internet search did turn up images on Minden Pictures of the Caterpillar of the Large Yellow Underwing,
Noctua pronuba, feeding on the leaves of a tomato plant, and BugGuide states “Larvae feed on a variety of crops and vegetables, plus grasses”, but even though we see a similarity, we do not believe that is your species.  We found an image on Colourbox that is identified as a Turnip Moth cutworm, Agrotis segetum, eating a tomato, and it resembles your culprit, but other images of this caterpillar we located on the internet are brown and we cannot confirm that identification either.  Both species we have mentioned are Old World species, but the Large Yellow Underwing has been introduced to North America.  We found additional images of brown Cutworms eating tomatoes on Dreamstime and then we believe we found your culprit on Alamy where it is identified as a “Bright-line Brown-eye moth, also known as tomato moth (Lacanobia oleracea).”  According to UK Moths: “Favouring suburban habitats as well as salt-marshes, the larval foodplants in the wild are usually orache (Atriplex) and goosefoot (Chenopodium), but it can sometimes attack cultivated tomatoes, feeding internally in the fruit.”  Wikipedia does not list Jamaica nor any other New World location, but that does not mean the species has not been introduced.  It might just be undocumented at this time.  Wildlife Insight offers the following advice:  “To prevent the adult moths from laying eggs on the plants some fine mesh should be placed over the greenhouse windows between May and August. Doors left open during the day to allow bees to enter should be netted off if left open at night.  If growing tomatoes outdoors then the whole plant will have be cloaked in netting.  Any clusters of eggs are usually easy to find on the underside of the leaves and can then be scrapped off.  At the first sign of fenestrations appearing in tomato leaves check the undersides for the tiny caterpillars.  The location of the feeding caterpillars is often given away by fine dark freckling of frass on the leaves directly beneath those being eaten.”

Cutworm

Thank you so very much for your assistance!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination