Currently viewing the category: "moth caterpillars"
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: 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

Subject: Trying to identify this for some kids
Location: Jamaica Plain MA.
May 4, 2017 2:39 pm
I found several of these in the dirt last week while fixing a path in my garden that is generally covered with burlap. I’m guessing they are some kind of egg case or early-stage larva, but have no idea what. I volunteer in a 2nd grade classroom. The kids are studying insects, and I’d love to take this in and tell them what it is.
Thank you for any assistance.
Signature: Ms. Deb

Moth Pupa

Dear Ms. Deb,
This is some species of Moth pupa.  Many moths pupate underground without forming a cocoon.  We are sorry we cannot be more specific.  Placing it in moist, not damp, soil in a terrarium should reward you students with the emergence soon of the adult moth.  We would love a follow-up report with an image of the adult.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Cecropia Caterpillar
Location: Middlebury, VT
May 3, 2017 2:19 pm
My grandson found this on our maple tree a few years ago and I thought you’d like to have the picture.
Signature: BrendaB

Cecropia Moth Caterpillar

Dear BrendaB,
We thought this was very early for a Cecropia Caterpillar sighting, especially in Vermont, and then we noticed your digital file is dated 2012.  We would expect to see Cecropia Moth Caterpillar late in the summer.

Oh yes!  I did say it was a few years ago.  I just think the picture is great, so I wanted to share.

And we agree that it is an awesome image, which is why we posted it.
We did not mean to seem dismissive.  We just wanted to inform our readers when to expect to see Cecropia Moth Caterpillars.

Thank you!  I am happy to know when to look for them as I haven’t seen one since 2012.  They seriously look like a Fisher Price toy.  Put a string on the front of it and it could be a pull toy.  J


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination