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

Subject:  Stickbug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Silver Spring, MD
Date: 08/12/2018
Time: 12:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this in the back yard.  Looks like there maybe eggs on its back.  Is it going to mess up my garden?
How you want your letter signed:  Gene

Parasitized Inchworm with Chalcid Pupae

Dear Gene,
Your “stickbug” is an Inchworm or Spanworm, the caterpillar of a moth in the family Geometridae, and they are excellent twig mimics.  What you have mistaken for eggs are actually the pupae of parasitoid Chalcid Wasps.  Here is a similarly parasitized Inchworm on BugGuide and here is an image of the Chalcid Wasp that emerged, also on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Moth with eggs
Geographic location of the bug:  Mississippi
Date: 08/02/2018
Time: 04:46 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This moth laid it’s eggs on the wall right next to my front door, so it was hard to miss. It looks a bit like the Early Thorn moth, but as far as I can tell from my google searches, they are not supposed to be in North America, so I must be mistaken. However, I can’t find a picture of any other moth that is similar so I thought I’d write to you. I have a young child and thought we might have fun keeping track of the eggs as long as the caterpillars that emerge aren’t the kind that sting. If they are I’ll know to be more cautious.
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks for all you do,

Curve-Toothed Geometer with Eggs

You are most welcome.  We quickly identified this Curve-Toothed Geometer, Eutrapela clemataria, on the Insect Identification site where it states:  “The only moth in its genus, the Curve-Toothed Geometer Moth has many distinctive markings that should help in identifying it. When at rest with wings flat, a definitive line that crosses from left to right stops short of reaching the edges of the wings. This line separates dark brown coloring near the head from the lighter brown color at the edge of the wings. The outer edge of the forewings curves downward and ends in a nubby point, or tooth, at the tips of the wings. The hindwings have scalloped edges.  A young caterpillar has a brown body that becomes darker and more purple as it ages. It eats the leaves of common trees like ash, oak, and maple. This easily accessible food source makes it almost effortless when expanding its range. Two generations are produced each year in warmer climates. Adults are active from late spring to late summer in wooded areas across the continent.”  The green eggs are very distinctive, so we attempted to look for images of eggs, and we found the same images of the green eggs on both BugGuide and The Moth Photographers Group.  To the best of our knowledge, no Geometer caterpillars, known as Inchworms or Spanworms because of their manner of locomotion, pose a danger to humans.  If you decide to try to raise some caterpillars, we would urge you to transfer the majority of the hatchlings to one of the mentioned host trees and try raising about 20 or so in captivity.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Camouflage Looper?
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
August 25, 2016 10:43 pm
Hi — Love your site — thanks for all your work. I found this little guy while I was taking photos at a pond near Tulsa, OK, a few weeks ago. At first I couldn’t figure out what it was because it was in the pink tufts of the flower. But then, I used a blade of grass to coax it out on to a leaf. Once it stretched out, I could see it was an inchworm. I’d never seen one like this before!!
Do you know if the “camouflage” bits get stuck on passively as the inchworm crawls around, or does the worm actively attach them?
Thanks,
Signature: Terrie

Camouflaged Looper

Camouflaged Looper

Dear Terrie,
Thanks for the compliment and thanks for sending in your awesome images of a Camouflaged Looper,
Synchlora aerata, or another member of the genus.  According to BugGuide:  “Caterpillar adorns its body with plant fragments, usually flower petals, to camouflage it as it feeds. It is the only widespread species to do so(2), but from Maryland southwards other Synchlora spp. are also present and only raising to adulthood can yield a definite caterpillar ID.”  We suspect the caterpillar uses silk to attach the flower bits to its body.

Camouflaged Looper

Camouflaged Looper

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Help Identify
Location: Talbott, Tn 37877 in a 80 year old cedar tree
July 20, 2016 5:04 pm
My daughter recently found this little guy hanging from what appeared to be a spider web but upon further examination could have been its own silk. I have been told that it could be a chameleon worm but I can’t find any info to back it up. Can you help identify please? I would like to know incase my daughter finds another one I can tell her to either stay away or its safe to touch. Thanks in advance!
Bryan Hux
6th Grade Science
Jefferson Middle School
Jefferson City Tn
Signature: Bryan Hux

Unknown Spanworm

Juniper Twig Geometer

Dear Bryan,
Though we have not had any success with a species identification, we can tell you this is an Inchworm or Spanworm in the family Geometridae, and it poses no threat to humans as it is neither venomous nor poisonous.  We wish we could be certain that the cedar upon which it was found was also the host plant as we couldn’t find any similar looking Spanworms associated with cedar.  Perhaps one of our readers will have more success at a species identification than we have had searching BugGuide and other sites. 

Karl finds the ID
Hi Daniel and Bryan:
It looks like a Juniper-twig Geometer caterpillar (Patalene olyzonaria). Despite the name, the principal food for the caterpillars is given as cedars of all varieties. Regards, Karl

Thanks so much Karl.  We like our name “Diamondback Spanworm” since the BugGuide description is:  “Larva: body brownish or grayish with dark angular lines dorsally and laterally, creating a diamond-shaped pattern; whitish patches below angular lines in subdorsal area; pair of black dorsal warts on ninth abdominal segment; head brown and gray with dark brown herringbone pattern on lobes.”

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Subject: Colorado Caterpillar
Location: 11 mile Canyon outside of Lake George, Colorado
June 23, 2016 8:10 am
Hey Bugman!
I have no idea what kind of caterpillar this is! Or what kind of moth/butterfly it will become. I tried all of my bug books and online resources.
This little guy was found in 11 mile Canyon in Colorado.
Thank you!
Signature: Frankie

Barberry Geometer

Colorful Inchworm:  Meris alticola perhaps

Dear Frankie,
Because of the reduced number of prolegs, your caterpillar is easily identified as an Inchworm or Spanworm in the family Geometridae, though its colorful markings make it unusual in that family, most of whose members have caterpillars that are green or brown and effectively mimic twigs.  At first we thought we had correctly identified your Inchworm as a Barberry Looper or Barberry Geometer,
Coryphista meadii, based on this BugGuide image, but we remembered identifying a similar Inchworm in the past and we could not find one in our archives.  We searched our archives for “colorful Inchworm” and we found this posting of Meris paradoxa that looks possible as well, but the species is only reported from Southern Arizona according to BugGuide.  The related and similar looking Meris alticola is also pictured on BugGuide, and it is reported on BugGuide from Colorado, so of the three, our money is on Meris alticola

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillar/Inchworm Michigan
Location: Redford, Michigan
May 31, 2016 6:40 am
Dear Bugman,
This little caterpillar fell on my arm, while I was sitting under a Black Walnut Tree in southeastern Michigan on 5/28/2016. He was quite small, maybe inch long and a quarter inch wide.
Thank you for the service you provide.
Signature: Kristin

Filament Bearer

Filament Bearer

Dear Kristin,
This Inchworm is one of the Filament Bearers in the genus
Nematocampa, an identification that can be verified on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination