Currently viewing the category: "moth caterpillars"

Roving Japanese Caterpillar Gangs
Location: Noto Peninsula, Ishikawa, Japan
June 29, 2011 8:13 pm
I first noticed large gangs of these caterpillars in the tree near my apartment in rural Japan a few days ago. As of this morning, they’re on a mass exodus toward the house. I’ve turned the AC on to discourage exploration of the machine’s innards, but beyond that I’m not sure if I need to do anything about them or just let them be. Step one would be finding out what they are! Thanks a lot.
Signature: Brian

Pine Processionary Caterpillars on the March

Dear Brian,
We believe we have identified your Caterpillar aggregation as the Pine Processionary Caterpillar,
Thaumetopoea pityocampa.  According to the faculty web page of Cortland:  “The pine processionary caterpillar is the best known of all the processionaries, studied as early as 1736 by Raumier and later by Fabre (1898) whose essay “ The life of the caterpillar” is among the classics of popular entomological literature.  The insect is found in the warmer regions of southern Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.  It is the habit of the caterpillars to move over the ground in long head-to-tail processions and to sting with urticating hairs anyone who attempts to molest them that has brought the caterpillars to the attention of the public.  It is also one of the most destructive of forest insects, capable of defoliating vast tracts of pines during its episodic population surges.  Of interest here, however, is the fact that is among the most social of caterpillars.  Sibling groups stay together throughout the larvae stage, often pupating side by side at sites they reach by forming long, over-the-gound, head-to-tail processions.”  The Forests and Human Health website devoted to sources of dermatitis has information on a wider range for the Pine Processionary Caterpillars, and states:  “Processionary caterpillars, such as Thaumetopoea spp. and Ochrogaster spp., are not only important causes of forest damage, but have also caused frequent outbreaks of dermatitis, ocular lesions and allergic reactions in Australia, Europe, Japan and the United States (Diaz, 2005; Vega et al., 1999). The pine processionary caterpillar (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) can remain in the chrysalis stage for several years if environmental conditions are unfavourable. As a result, moths from several generations can emerge simultaneously when favourable conditions occur, causing severe outbreaks (Vega et al., 1999). Contact with dead larvae, cocoons, nests and debris from infested pine forests can also cause dermatitis throughout the year. During outbreaks in France, media campaigns have been conducted to warn the public away from affected areas. In Israel, T. pityocampa occurs in pine plantations and on urban trees and is considered a serious pest of medical importance causing eye problems and even temporary blindness (Solt and Mendel, 2002).  Pine processionary caterpillar, Thaumetopoea pityocampa, is a serious pest causing dermatitis epidemics and eye problems.”  Finally, this article entitled The Dangerous Pine Processionary Caterpillar provides additional information and precautions.

Pine Processionary Caterpillar

 

What’s this bug
Location: West Virginia
June 30, 2011 2:53 pm
Hi there. I have seen this guy twice now and have no idea what kind of critter it is. Any ideas? Thanks much.
Signature: Bill Wells

Tomato Hornworm parasitized by Braconid Wasp

Hi Bill,
The caterpillar is a Tomato Hornworm, and it has been parasitized by a Braconid Wasp.  The female Braconid Wasp lays her eggs inside the body of the Hornworm, and the larval wasps feed on the tissues of the Hornworm.  Eventually, the Braconid Larvae burrow to the surface and form cocoons, which is what you are seeing.  Here is a nice set of images from BugGuide.  The Hornworm will not live to metamorphose into a moth.

Thysania zenobia
Location: Costa-Rica
June 26, 2011 4:43 pm
Thysania zenobia
Signature: Eduardo Lucof

Owl Moth Caterpillar

Hi again Eduardo,
Thanks for sending us these photos of Owl Moth Caterpillars.  They are under-represented on our site as a species and these are the first caterpillar images we have received.  A photo of the adult moth can be found on the Texas Entomology website.  We wish your email contained additional information.  Are you raising caterpillars or have you been lucky enough to stumble upon these well camouflaged individuals?

Owl Moth Caterpillar

Ascalapha odorata
Location: Costa-Rica
June 26, 2011 4:47 pm
Ascalapha odorata
Signature: Eduardo Lucof

Black Witch Caterpillar

Dear Eduardo,
Thank you for supplying us with another image of a Black Witch Caterpillar.  We are going to assume that the ID is correct.  We wish your email contained a bit more information.

Ascalapha odorata
Location: Costa-Rica
June 25, 2011 6:27 pm
Ascalapha odorata
Signature: Eduardo Lucof

Black Witch Caterpillar

Hola Eduardo,
We are going to trust that this is really a Black Witch Caterpillar since we have never seen one.  Thanks for sending the photo.

Brown hairy caterpillar id
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
June 24, 2011 4:35 pm
Long brown hairs, about 3-4cm long. Thought it might be a Garden Tiger Moth. Spotted June 20, 2011 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Signature: Wildlife & Plant Sightings, junponline.com

Black Woolly Bear

Dear Wildlife and Plant Sightings,
We agree with your identification, but we would like to provide some clarification according to BugGuide.  Since the species
Arctia caja is found in Europe as well as North America, the common name differs in the new world and old world.  The Garden Tiger Moth is known as the Great Tiger Moth in North America.  The caterpillar is simply a Woolly Bear in Europe, but in North America it is called the Black Woolly Bear to distinguish it from other Tiger Moth Caterpillars.