Currently viewing the category: "Inchworms"

A compromised inchworm?
January 6, 2010
I found what I believe is an inchworm clinging to a blackberry leaf with her abdominal prolegs today, January 5.
The problem is, his/her head and thorax/legs are barely recognizable. The head area is almost split in two.
I found some skin on a leaf beside her. I wonder if a moulting process can look this horrible; either that, or could it be that the inchworm hasn’t fully developed? (The latter does not make sense to me, because I realize that insects typically hatch fully developed and simply grow/moult in the larval stage.)
This caterpillar was able to move just fine, as if otherwise healthy, but could only grab things with her prolegs… the head area is really looking bad!
Paul
Southwestern British Columbia, Canada

Unknown Inchworm

Blackberry Looper

Dear Paul,
We are not certain what species of Inchworm this is, and we haven’t the time to research it at the moment.  It is difficult to tell from your photographs if there is anything unusual with the physiognomy.  In the event there was trauma of some sort, a predator perhaps, we are uncertain how long a compromised caterpillar can continue to live.  Perhaps one of our readers has the time to research the species.

Unknown Inchworm

Blackberry Looper

Update
Immediately after posting, we tried to do a websearch of geometridae and blackberry, and we believe this is a Blackberry Looper, Chlorochlamys chloroleucaria, as pictured on BugGuide.  Though the coloration is different, the structure of the head is consistent with your photo.

Hello,
I did read the other emails, and I’m very glad for your answer!
I don’t know how to find it online.
Will need to visit your site more often!
Kind regards,
Paul

Pink Caterpillar
July 18, 2009
This tiny pink caterpillar moved in inchworm fashion and was particularly interested in the pollen/nectar of my Coreopsis flower. About 3/8″ in length, really tiny.
sankax
Minneapolis, MN

Unknown Pink Inchworm

Unknown Pink Inchworm

Dear sankax,
While we cannot tell you the species, this Inchworm or Spanworm is the caterpillar of a moth in the family Geometridae.

Thought you’d like these pix of winter moth larvae (Operophtera brumata)
Sun, May 17, 2009 at 3:58 PM
Here in eastern Massachusetts we are having a horrible infestation of winter moths for the 3rd or 4th year. Each year they get worse, and the damage to the trees around here is greater and greater. I know that you think that there’s no such thing as a bad bug, but I’m having a hard time finding good in these guys. My car is covered in their feces and the driveway has a thick slippery coating of caterpillar poop.
Anyway, we had a rain last night and quite a few got knocked out of the trees and took refuge under our cars. Not sure why they all huddled together, perhaps for warmth. It was not a pretty site when I backed the car out of the driveway…
G. Glater
Natick, MA

Winter Moth Caterpillars

Winter Moth Caterpillars

Dear G.,
We needed to do a bit of research on the Winter Moth.  BugGuide hasn’t much information on the species, and indicates of the genus:  “small geometers with banded brown forewings and plain whitish hindwings. Range southern Canada and northern United States (extends further south in the Appalachians and Rockies) ”  BugGuide has no images of the caterpillars.  The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources Introduced Insects Page indicates:  “Adult moths emerge in late November and can be active into January  under the right weather conditions.”  The University of Massachusetts Green Info page has a pdf on the winter_moth that indicates the species was introduced from Europe.  In its own natural habitat, the Winter Moth Caterpillars probably have natural predators that feed upon them.  It is also possible that in Europe, there are periodic outbreaks that result in a necessary food source for other animals.  Thanks for sending your awesome images of this outbreak of an introduced invasive exotic species.

Winter Moth Caterpillars

Winter Moth Caterpillars


aussietrev wasp foodchain pic
Thu, Apr 16, 2009 at 7:08 PM
Hi guys,
Walking along and this wasp came buzzing out from a small shrub and landed on a grass stem to finish off this caterpillar, which I think is one of the Geometridae. Taken in the Capricornia region of Queensland.
aussietrev
Qld, Australia

Paper Wasp captures Caterpillar

Paper Wasp captures Caterpillar

Hi Trevor,
We believe this is one of the social Paper Wasps, possibly Polistes tepidus, and we also believe it has captured the caterpillar to feed to larval wasps back at the nest.  The Brisbane Insect Page has photo documentation of a Polistes Paper Wasp skinning and “packaging” a large caterpillar into manageable portions for travel.  It states:  “The wasp cut a large piece from the caterpillar and carefully pack it into  ball shape for easy carrying. Then she started to fly back home to feed their  larvae. We noticed that the wasp circle around over the caterpillar body a few  time before she disappear. We believed she did that to recognize the location  so that she could come back after deliver the meal.”  Perhaps one of our readers can substantiate this.

filament bearer caterpillar
Sat, Oct 18, 2008 at 9:22 AM
Hi Buggies,
I love your website. I searched for this species of caterpillar, but couldn’t find it on your site–thought you might like to see this filament bearer, Nemocampa resistaria (according to my Caterpillars of Eastern North America by David L. Wagner, a book no Eastern North American bug lover should be without). I took this photo in my back yard in northwestern New Jersey in early June of 2008. When I saw the caterpillar inching across the picnic table, my first thought was, “There’s no breeze; why is that twig moving?” It does look just like a piece of Virginia Creeper vine, or the wild grape vines that also grow around here.
Enjoy!
Jeannie
Newton, New Jersey

Horned Spanworm

Horned Spanworm

Hi Jeannie,
BugGuide also refers to this interesting inchworm species as the Horned Spanworm.  Your wonderful photo with its dramatic shadow is a perfect Halloween image.

Need ID on this caterpillar
Found this caterpillar on my sages and coyote mints eats leafs and builds nest at base of plants. About 1/2″ long. Located in Southern California
Second picture is another caterpillar I found in my backyard
Dennis
Brea California

Inchworm

Inchworm

Hi Dennis,
One of the caterpillars is and Inchworm or Spanworm in the family Geometridae.  We are not sure of the exact species as there are numerous similar looking caterpillars posted to BugGuide.  We have a similar looking caterpillar that defoliates the new growth on our Matilija Poppy each spring.