Subject: Caterpillar identification
Geographic location of the bug: Northern Illinois at Wisconsin border
Time: 11:47 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I found this caterpillar stuck to the ice on 2-6-19, in the middle of winter during a period of very wintery weather. It was in the yard, no where near any trees or bushes. The temps have been generally near freezing, but we did have a warming a few days ago (temps in the high 40s) which was just after a sever cold (-27 neg numbers 3 days in a row). This caterpillar had its back feet frozen into the ice but its body was soft and it is still alive after being warmed in the house.
How you want your letter signed: Steve
This is a Cutworm in the family Noctuidae, and based on the time of year and the conditions under which it was found, we are confident it is a Winter Cutworm, Noctua pronuba, the caterpillar of the invasive Large Yellow Underwing. According to BugGuide: “Introduced from Europe to Nova Scotia in 1979, this species has since spread north to the Arctic Ocean, west to the Pacific, and south to the Gulf of Mexico.”