Currently viewing the category: "Cutworms and Owlet Caterpillars"

Subject:  Caterpillar eating rhubarb
Geographic location of the bug:  Lancaster, PA
Date: 10/03/2021
Time: 10:06 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  These caterpillars are devastating our rhubarb.    Any idea what they are?
How you want your letter signed:  Joe

Yellow-Striped Armyworm

Dear Joe,
This looks like a Yellow-Striped Armyworm,
Spodoptera ornithogalli, which is pictured on BugGuide.  The Yellow-Striped Armyworm is not listed on the Pacific Northwest Insect Management Handbook of rhubarb pests, but two other members of the genus are listed.  Armyworms and Cutworms are often general feeders and it is sometimes difficult to get a comprehensive listing of all the plants they will feed upon.

Subject:  Unidentified caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Sahuarita AZ
Date: 08/25/2021
Time: 05:29 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  After searching I cannot identify this caterpillar. Would you be able to tell me what it is?
How you want your letter signed :  Luanne

Owlet Moth Caterpillar:  Basilodes chrysopis

Dear Luanne,
Daniel has a vague memory of seeing this caterpillar before, but maybe that is because it resembles the Hooded Owlet Caterpillars in the genus
Cuculia, which are pictured on BugGuide.  It also resembles but is not a Zebra Caterpillar.  We will continue to attempt an identification and perhaps one of our readers will recognize this distinctive looking Caterpillar.  Are you able to provide us with the name of the plant upon which it was found?

Hello Daniel, Thank you for your email! I’m not able to figure out what the plant is but I’ll attach a photo of it. Thanks again! Luanne

Plant

Update:  September 1, 2021
Thanks to Ben who wrote a comment identifying Basilodes chrysopis. and providing a link to the Moth Photographers Group.  According to BugGuide the moth is called the Guilded Seedcopper.

Subject:  caterpillar ID
Geographic location of the bug:  Orange county NYS
Date: 08/21/2021
Time: 06:36 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman,
Can you please Id this? Took it of concord grapes growing outside in field.
Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Linda

Eight Spotted Forester Caterpillar

Dear Linda,
This is the caterpillar of an Eight Spotted Forester,
Alypia octomaculata, which is pictured on Butterflies and Moths of North America.  Grape is a known food plant.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you very much. I put it back on the grapes, its quite beautiful.
Best,
Linda

 

 

Subject: Budworm
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 06/21/2021
Time: 05:46 PM PDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found a bud worm on a sprout indoors under lights????
How you want your letter signed: Mel Frank

Tobacco Budworm eats Cannabis sprout

Dear Mel,
Thanks so much for your submission of a Tobacco Budworm caterpillar,
Chloridea virescens.  We are honored to get this important documentation from such a distinguished expert.  BugGuide also has documentation of a Tobacco Budworms feeding on marijuana.

 

Subject:  What is this guy?
Geographic location of the bug:  Raleigh NC
Date: 04/15/2021
Time: 06:38 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this odd critter on my back porch. About 3” long, relatively flat. Would love to get him to the correct habitat and what he will become.
How you want your letter signed:  Lisa & Doug

Underwing Caterpillar, probably

Dear Lisa & Doug,
We believe this is an Underwing Caterpillar in the genus Catocala, but we haven’t the required skills to provide you with a species identification.  Due to its size, we suspect this individual was searching for an appropriate place in which to pupate.  Of one species, the Bug Lady on the University of Milwaukee website states:  “When it’s time to pupate, they make a minimalist pupal case using silk and leaf litter.”  We would release it on the ground in a protected area with leaf litter that will not be cleared in the near future.  Many pupating caterpillars form a cocoon in leaf litter on the ground, and fastidious leaf raking in suburban yards likely produces numerous casualties.  Underwing Moths are so named because their forewings are often camouflages to resemble bark, while the underwings are brightly colored.  The moth attracts attention when flying and then disappears, thwarting a predator, when it lands on a tree trunk.

Subject:  Digging in the dirt!
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern Nevada
Date: 10/25/2019
Time: 03:08 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  While out to lay pavers in our yard we got to watch a fascinating insect we’d never seen before. We watched for some time as it dug in our soft dirt, buzzing in the hole, moving rocks (sometimes as large as it was!) and at one point it unearthed a grub of sorts! Biting it behind the head it held in… it didn’t appear to sting it, and eventually the grub ceased to move. For an hour we watched as our friend dig holes, and then moved on to another spot. On one hole we watched her start to fill it back in, going in to buzz excitedly, then back to digging. I have a couple of videos too, if you’re interested.
How you want your letter signed:  Sincerely, Kristi Shaffer

Thread-Waisted Wasp with Cutworm Prey

Dear Kristi,
This is a Thread-Waisted Wasp in the family Specidae, and the prey is a Cutworm.  The Wasp will not eat the Caterpillar.  Rather, the female Wasp has paralyzed the Caterpillar which it will bury and the paralyzed Caterpillar will provide food for the developing Wasp larva which will feed on the helpless, but living Caterpillar.  We believe we have correctly identified your Wasp as
Podalonia argentifrons thanks to images posted to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae are provisioned with caterpillars exclusively from the family Noctuidae.” 

Thread-Waisted Wasp with Cutworm Prey

Thread-Waisted Wasp