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

Subject: Pleasant Surprise!
Location: West Losangeles
May 26, 2017 11:41 am
Hi Bugman,
I’ve been planting fennel for years to attract anise swallowtail butterflies with sporadic success. Can’t tell you how surprised I was to see a parsley plant covered with caterpillars. I counted 14, but there are probably more. Did a bit of research and learned the plants the larvae eat are in the carrot family, so, I guess parsley is in the carrot family?
One thing I didn’t like about fennel is the caterpillars are exposed and easily seen by predators. With parsley, at least when they are small, the caterpillars are hidden by leaves.
Thx, Jeff
Signature: Jeff Bremer

Anise Swallowtail Caterpillars

Congratulations Jeff,
We are concerned that 14 caterpillars will soon defoliate your parsley plant and that without any food, the Anise Swallowtail Caterpillars will starve before reaching maturity.  You might want to consider buying a few more parsley plants to help ensure survival.  We occasionally find Anise Swallowtail Caterpillars munching on carrots and parsley in our own garden.

Anise Swallowtail Caterpillars

Hi Daniel,
More parley is on my list.
I have another question for you: Over the past 10 years or so, I’ve taken hundreds of pictures of the butterflies we’ve lured into our back yard (including caterpillars, chrysalises and eggs). Would you be interested in them or know of any organizations that could use them?
Thx, Jeff

Hi Jeff,
Hundreds arriving at one time would be overwhelming for our tiny staff, but trickling them in slowly to our site would be wonderful.  Please continue to use our standard form for submissions and please confine your submissions to a single species.  Eggs, caterpillars, chrysalides and imagos or adults of the same species arriving together though would be most welcome.  We are especially curious when you first documented the Giant Swallowtail and its caterpillar the Orange Dog as this species was first reported in Los Angeles in the late 1990s, we believe.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Northern California Caterpillar
Location: Northern California
May 20, 2017 10:57 pm
Hi, saw this little guy outside tonight and just wondering what he might turn into
Signature: Rachel

Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Rachel,
This is but one color variation of the highly variable Whitelined Sphinx Caterpillar,
Hyles lineata, and this BugGuide image is a very good color match to your individual.  The high rainfall we had this past season produced plants upon which the caterpillars feed, and we expect to be getting reports of caterpillar population explosions, especially from desert areas.  Our own porch light has attracted numerous adult Whitelined Sphinx Moths this spring. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillar eating plumeria leaves
Location: Puerto Vallarta
May 10, 2017 6:37 am
Normally, the only caterpillars that eat plumeria leaves are tetrio and an occasional starving monarch. This young one, munching away in Puerto Vallarta this May, has everyone stumped – no one has seen one before. Any ideas?
Signature: Diana

Hornworm:  Isognathus leachii

Dear Diana,
The forward facing, filamentous, caudal horn is quite unusual in this caterpillar, and we suspect like the Tetrio Sphinx, it is a Hornworm in the family Sphingidae.  We do not recognize it either and we are going to request assistance from Bill Oehlke.  It if is a Sphingiid, we suspect Bill may request permission to use the images on his very comprehensive site.

Hornworm:  Isognathus leachii

Update:  Thanks to a comment from Bostjan Dvorak, we have learned that this Hornworm is Isognathus leachii.  According to Sphingidae of the Americas:  “Larvae have long tails; colouration suggests they are unpalatable to birds.”

Hornworm:  Isognathus leachii

Many thanks for the follow-up: I’ve posted in the plumeria Facebook forums. You now have Mexican Pacific coast to add to the confirmed range, and plumeria as a larvae host plant, and like tetrio, they eat a lot of leaves! I’ve also alerted Dr. Criley at the Univ of Hawaii in case it shows up in their groves.  Excellent work!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Orange caterpillar
Location: Wyoming
May 13, 2017 9:31 am
Hi Bugman,
A few years ago, my daughter found this neat looking caterpillar. We were fascinated by its colors. We were hoping you could tell us what kind of caterpillar it is and what it turns into? We don’t see many colorful caterpillars here in Wyoming. Thank you!
Signature: Anneka & Samantha

Pre-Pupal Western Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Anneka & Samantha,
This is a Western Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar,
Papilio rutulus, and for most of its life it was green to camouflage itself on the leaves upon which it had been feeding.  Its orange color is based on its pre-pupal state as it was likely searching for an ideal location to transform into a chrysalis.  According to BugGuide:  “Males patrol canyons and hilltops. Larvae feed on foliage of deciduous trees, including cottonwood, birch, elms, willow, alder, sycamore, and aspen. They rest in shelters made of silk and curled leaves. Overwinters as pupa (chrysalis).”  BugGuide also notes the habitat is:  “Woodlands and more open areas, often near streams. Also common in cities and suburbs due to the popularity of sycamores in landscaping.”  We were able to distinguish your Western Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar from the numerous other North American Tiger Swallowtail species because of your location and this BugGuide statement:  “Larvae very similar to those of Pale Tiger Swallowtail, but black pupil of false eye-spot larger, and yellow spot inside eyespot entirely separated from it, not just notched.”  The adult Western Tiger Swallowtail is a gorgeous butterfly.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Found crossing driveway
Location: Austin, Texas
May 14, 2017 2:36 am
Found on May 12, 2017 in Austin, Tx. We were working in my garage and noticed this guy was crossing my driveway so we moved him to the flower bed destination he would have reached (to insure he didn’t get stepped on).
I would love to know what kind of caterpillar this is – never seen one before.
Signature: Karen Lewis

Possibly White Blotched Heterocampa

Dear Karen,
We believe that based on this BugGuide image, your Prominent Moth Caterpillar is a White Blotched Heterocampa,
Heterocampa umbrata.  Was there an oak tree near the sighting?  According to BugGuide:  “The larvae feed on oaks (Quercus). Two generations per year in much of range, multiple generations in Florida.”

Yes, there are two oak trees near the spot where he was (one as close as 12-15 ft away).
Thank you so much!
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this caterpillar and the hairy stuff around it?
Location: Sydney
May 4, 2017 10:59 pm
Hi! I live in Sydney, Australia and it’s currently autumn. I saw this caterpillar on my cumquat (calamondin) tree. Do you know what kind it is? What is that hairy structure around it? Is it the start of a cocoon?
Signature: Carey

Lichen Moth Cocoon, we believe

Dear Carey,
We found an exact match to your cocoon on FlickR, but alas, it is only identified as a “wingless moth cocoon.”  We actually found that image after finding several similar looking, but not exact images, beginning with Butterfly House where there are images of the caterpillar, caterpillar in its cocoon and pupa in the cocoon of Cyana meyricki, and this information is provided:  “The cocoon made by the caterpillar is quite remarkable. It is an open square mesh cage, constructed out of larval hairs held together with silk. The hairs are too short to construct the cage directly, so the caterpillar attaches pairs of hairs to each other end to end, and uses these pairs to make the sides of the cage. The pupa is suspended in the middle of the cage, equidistant from the sides. The caterpillar even manages to push its final larval skin outside the mesh cage while forming its pupa. When the moth emerges, it appears to exit the cage without damaging it.”  We found another image of the caterpillar in its cocoon on FLickRAustralia Museum provides the common name Lichen Moth and provides this information:  ” This lichen moth makes an elaborate open mesh cocoon using the shed hairs from the hairy caterpillar which are held together with silk. The pupa is suspended in the middle.”  Now we will present our opinion.  We believe this is a Lichen Moth Caterpillar in its cocoon, after losing its hairs and constructing the cocoon, but before the final molt to the pupa occurs, so you are seeing a pre-pupal caterpillar that doesn’t really exactly resemble either the caterpillar or pupal stage as it is in transition.

Update:  May 17, 2017
We just approved a comment that the Clouded Footman,
Anestia ombrophanes, is another possibility, and images on Butterfly House tend to support that possibility.  The site states:  “They form a pupa inside a sparse cocoon made of silk and larval hairs, attached to a fence, a tree, or a wall.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination