Currently viewing the category: "moth caterpillars"
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Hi, I was so glad to find your site – My daughter and I are fascinated by the unusual (and usual) insects we find in SE Canada(Ottawa, Ont.Canada). This beautiful caterpillar was discovered on a Virginia Creeper vine (Gini). We have seen many caterpillars and we have fun watching the larva pupate and emerge as butterflies. No one, uncluding experts has been able to ID Gini, and we would love to know what she is(especially since she wandered off from her spot and is hanging somewhere, or dug into some plant. It’s been 2 weeks since her hiatus, and still nothing.
Thank you,
Sherleen and Faith Smithson
P.s. She’s 4 inches long

Hi Sherleen and Faith,
Gini is one of two different color varieties of the Abbot’s Sphinx Caterpillar, Sphecodina abbotti. According to Holland: “This beautiful hawkmoth is found throughout the Eastern States and southern Canada and ranges westward as far as Iowa and Kansas. The larva feeds on the Vitaceae and is not uncommon on Ampelopsis. The caterpillar is not provided with an anal horn, but has instead an eye-like tubercle, or boss, at the anal extremity. It has the habit when disturbed, of throwing its head violently from side to side, a movement found in other sphingid larvae, …” Holland doesn’t mention the two color varieties. We found that information on this site which states: ” Two very different forms: form pictured here unmistakable; other form brown, streaked with white and black, and oblique lines that run through spiracles. Head with broad dark band to either side of triangle, edged outwardly with pale band. Caudal horn replaced by eyelike bump. Food: grape family. Caterpillar: May through September; presumably 2 generations in Deep South, 1 generation in North.” By the way, your photo is much nicer than the one pictured on that site. Guessing by the size of your caterpillar, we can only guess that it has buried itself in the ground to pupate.

Thank you, Daniel, now I know she has to be in one of my plants! There are wild grape vines growing with the Virginia Creeper. so I imagine Gini was traveling for the ground when I was clearing the patch. We are so pleased about your site, because we’re always coming across something unique. I wish I could have sent in pictures of a pink(magenta), smooth-skinned caterpillar and a shell pink moth(1 1/2″ wingspan). Anyway, Faith and I will continue to watch your site. Thank you so much,
Sherleen Smithson
P.S. My oldest son did the photo – he inadvertently killed a Dobson Fly because it terrified him – he didn’t know what it was until we found a picture in a book. I think he’ll be a bit more merciful in the future. He brought us a gorgeous Imperial Moth and took photos of it and the Sphinx(probably Tomato Hornworm) Moth we found. If you could use the pictures, we can send them.

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I found a weird bug today in my dads car
Hello Bugman,
My name is Jimmy, today I found this wierd type of caterpillar my dad thought it was a tomato bug. We didn’t know. We researched your website but we couldn’t find it at all. Can you please help me. I don’t know if it was poisonous or not so i used a kleenex to pic it up and there was this slik like substance behind it when it walked. Can you tell me which is his head and which is his butt?
Thank You
Jimmy Brickner
Strongsville, Ohio

Hi Jimmy,
The reason you could not find your caterpillar on our website is because we only post photos that readers send in. You are the first person to send in a photo of a Cecropia Moth Caterpillar, Samia Cecropia. This is the largest North American Moth, and its wingspan reaches six inches across. It is a member of the Giant Silkworm family Saturnidae, and as adults, the moths do not feed. Your caterpillar looks nearly mature. They eat leaves from cherry , maple, willow and other trees. Try keeping the caterpillar in a well ventilated box with fresh leaves. I am guessing that since it was in your dad’s car, it was looking for a place to pupate. The cocoon is usually spun on a branch. It will overwinter as a cocoon and emerge as a grown moth in the spring. Thank you for the photo. They are not poisonour. The head end has the orange tubercles. In your photo, it is on the left.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What an excellent and fun website! I thought you might be able to help me with two mystery bugs that have proven baffling. The first is a caterpillar I saw in the mountains of central Nepal. It was at about 2000 meters, in cleared but overgrown land. The caterpillar was about 6 and a half cm long, and as you can see below, quite colorful. For lack of a better term, I’ve nicknamed it the ‘Himalayan Dragon’. Any ideas what this dragon turned into later in life?

Hi Robbie,
Thanks for the photos of the exotica. They are a mystery to us as well. I can tell you with some degree of assurance, that the caterpillar will probably metamorphose into a moth and not a butterfly. It looks like it is some species of Tiger Moth or Tussock Moth, but we cannot be sure. We are content with the name Himalayan Dragon.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

weird looking bug in Texas… please help!Hi! Please help us! My husband found this weird looking bug on our pine tree in Houston, TX . Two pictures are attached. It is probably 4-5 inches. Thank you!

Hi Jeanette,
You have a Sphinx Moth caterpillar, probably from the genus Pholus, probably Pholus satellitia, the Satellite Sphinx, or according to this site, Eumorpha satellitia satellitia. A variety, Pholus satellitia pandorus, is called the Pandora Sphinx. Some taxonomists call this moth Eumorpha pandorus. The caterpillar comes in several color variations, including green and reddish-brown. The food plant is the leaves of the grapevine. It appears to be on a vine climbing on your pine tree. Could that vine be grape?

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

California Caterpillar
Can you help identify this little guy? I found him on a cement wall in Santa Cruz county California.
Thanks Victor Morris

Hi Victor,
Your photo looks remarkably like a Spotted Tussock Moth (Lophocampa maculata).
The Caterpillars of the Eastern Forest site describes this caterpillar as being: “Black at either end with 4 or 5 orange abdominal segments. Numerous thin white lashes arise from black segments—these distinguish it from woolly bear, which it superficially resembles. Orange abdominal band broken by red or black middorsal tufts. Food: prefers willows and poplars but will consume most any shrub or tree. Caterpillar: July to September; 1 generation.”

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black bristly caterpillar
Photo attached. This was found in Austin, Texas, walking near the handle of our patio door. He is predominantly black, bristly, with a brownish red head and three orange/red bands around the back end. Since he is lifting his front end, there may be more red bands, hard to tell. In terms of scale, this fellow is +/- 1.5 inches long. The hole in the picture is ~1/8th inch in diameter. THe nearby environment is a large flower garden filled with butterfly and hummingbird attracting plants (designed that way). Common medium-large butterflies in the garden recently include:
* various swallowtails (giant, pipevine, tiger)
* gulf fritillary
* hackberry spp.
* red admirals (not all that often)
* hummingbird clearwing moth
I’m familiar with these caterpillars, and this ain’t one of ’em. We also have commas/question marks. Is this one of them? We have many smaller butterflies (e.g. texas crescent, common hairstreak, fiery skipper) but I figure this guy isn’t a candidate for them, since he’s good sized. Hard to find a good site of caterpillar pictures.

Hi Jim,
The caterpillar of Ecpantheria deflorata, the Eyed Tiger Moth, “is a deep black, clothed with black hairs, and at the junction of the somites, or segments of the body, it is banded with rings of crimson” according to Holland. Sounds like your caterpillar. The moth is found in your area and the caterpillar, one of the wooley bears, feeds on plantain, pr Plantago. We have a photo of the adult moth on our homepage right now. Here is a nice caterpillar identification site.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination