Currently viewing the category: "Carpenter Moth Caterpillars"

Subject:  What’s this thing
Geographic location of the bug:  Melbourne, Australia
Date: 03/30/2018
Time: 02:39 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We found this moving in and out of a hole in the ground.
It’s about 10cm long, and almost 2cm in diameter.
How you want your letter signed:  Sandford Family

Rain Moth Pupa

Dear Sanford Family,
This is a moth pupa, and that of quite a large moth.  We believe we have correctly identified it as a Rain Moth Pupa,
Trictena atripalpis, thanks to an image on Butterfly House where it states:  “The caterpillars of this particular species live in tunnels in the ground where they feed on the roots of adjacent Australian native trees” including red gum.  The site also indicates:  “The moths a famous for being able to predict rain. In some areas in autumn, the moths appear on only one night each year, yet all appear together in droves, and always just a few hours before a major downpour in that area. Perhaps the rain helps wash the scattered eggs into crevices in the ground, as well as dormant seeds to germinate, so that after the eggs hatch: the young caterpillars can easily find roots on which to feed.”  That causes us to wonder if perhaps the sighting coincided with rain.  Additional images can be found on Insects of Tasmania where it states:  ” The Hepialid larvae live in silk lined holes and come out at night to feed. They then pupate in the hole.  Trictena atripalpis often leave their pupal case half out of their exit hole.”  We suspect that by the time you get this message, the adult moth might have already emerged from the pupa.

Rain Moth Pupa

Thanks heaps for your reply.
You certainly pinpointed it.
It hatched a day later, however but no rain was in sight. Perhaps we had disturbed it’s nature cycle.
However we did take a time-lapse of it one night after it had hatched where you can see it laying eggs.
I’ll send you a link once we’ve uploaded it.
The Sandford Family.

Rain Moth Pupa

Subject: Moscow Bug
Location: Russia
September 28, 2014 10:18 am
Hi there,
Hoping you can help identify this bug I saw, think it may be a moth larvae. I spotted it in a park in Moscow, Russia at the end of August. About three inches long, legs under body (unknown number) segmented and smooth body(no hairs or projections) and obvious head end. Saw it on the path next to grassland.
Thanks for any help
Signature: Elaine

Beetle Larva, we believe

Goat Moth Caterpillar

Dear Elaine,
We get very few submissions from Russia, so we are thrilled to find we have at least one Russian reader.  We believe this is a beetle larva, and our best guess is that it is a Ground Beetle larva in the family Carabidae.  Caterpillar Hunters have large predatory larvae that look similar to the creature in your images.  We do not believe this is a caterpillar.
  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to supply us with more specific information.

Possibly Ground Beetle Larva

Goat Moth Caterpillar

Karl provides a correction:  Goat Moth Caterpillar
Hi Daniel and Elaine:
I believe this is a Carpenter Moth caterpillar (family Cossidae), probably a European Goat Moth (Cossus cossus). It is a little difficult to make out the markings on the front end, but they do appear very similar to a Goat Moth. A similar caterpillar ID request was submitted to WTB in 2009 from South Africa. Some information on the Goat Moth was provided in the response to that request. The behavior and size described by Elaine also match the Goat Moth caterpillar. These caterpillars do actually posses sparse, fine white hairs along their flanks, a feature that is just visible in Elaine’s photos. Regards. Karl

Thank you so much for your help, it’s really been ‘bugging’ me!
I have googled goat moth caterpillar and that is definitely what it was.
Thanks again

Red-chilli like larva
February 28, 2010
The person who took this photo thinks it is a beetle larva.
West Bengal, India

Goat Moth Larva, we believe

Dear Suhas,
There are not enough anatomical features visible in this photo for us to conclusively categorize this larva.  We don’t believe it is a caterpillar or a beetle grub.  We tend to favor it being a Sawfly Larva.  Sawflies are related to bees and wasps, and many species have larvae that resemble caterpillars.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist in a species identification.

Dear Daniel
Thanks a lot for your prompt reply. I will certainly gather more details from the photographer and send it to you soon.

Update:  July 13, 2018
A special thanks to Gustaf Fredell who sent in a comment identifying this as a Goat Moth Larva in the family Cossidae and providing this link to Alamy.

Huge red and yellow caterillar???
July 30, 2009
Hi, I am staying in the eastern cape of South Africa and yesterday spotted this caterpillar? grub? crawling along the ground. It was approx 3″ long and appeared to be trying to burrow or dig into the ground. It moved like a caterpillar – that is to say it lifted the centre of its body off the ground as it moved. The local men told me it is a ‘worm’….. but we wondered what is it really?? I have tried looking online but no luck. I hope you can help!
Eastern Cape, South Africa

Unknown Caterpillar from South Africa

Carpenter Moth Caterpillar from South Africa

Hi Sarah,
We are fairly certain that this is a Giant Silk Moth Caterpillar in the family Saturniidae, but we could not locate a matching image on the World’s Greatest Saturniidae website.  We will contact Bill Oehlke to see if he knows what species this is.
Perhaps one of our other readers will be able to supply an answer.

Bill Oehlke responds
July 31, 2009
I do not know that one. i do not think it is a Saturniidae species.
Bill Oehlke

Possible ID from Karl
August 14, 2009
Another possibility is that this impressive larva is a Carpenter Moth (Cossidae), some of which can be quite large.  Carpenter moths are stem and root borers, hence the common name for the group.  In most species the larvae live out their terms (up to 5 years) within their woody tunnels and galleries and therefore have no need for bright colors; most are white or cream colored. Some species, however, do change hosts occasionally when they run out of food, their host dies, or to burrow underground to pupate (could the latter behavior be what Sarah observed?). Such species can be brightly colored, often a warning to potential predators of toxicity or bad taste. A good example is the Goat Moth (Cossus cossus) of Europe and northern Africa, which bears considerable resemblance to the larva in Sarah’s photo. I was particularly struck by the similar markings on the pronotal shield, just behind the head. The Goat moth is one example of a Cossid moth larva that does leave its tree in the final stages of development to pupate underground. The Cossidae are well represented in South Africa, including at least two Cossus species (C. windhoekensis and C. terebroides) but descriptive information about larvae is difficult to find and I was not able to identify a potential candidate genus or species. Regards.

November 11, 2009
unknown caterpillar from eastern cape
On a 12/09/09 trip to an inselberg Touwsberg(S33 33 53 E21 03 03) in the w.cape I collected a similar caterpillar.It emerged on 06/11/2009) and was identified by Herman Staude as being probably Macrocassus toluminus of the family Cossoidea–stem borers which take years to complete their cycle.The most probable foodplant was Acacia karoo.Have pic of male that emerged.G
Geoff Wyatt