Currently viewing the category: "moth caterpillars"

Hello Bugman,
My wife found this really awesome caterpillar a few days ago on her Gerber Daisies. I have been looking all over the Internet trying to identify it, when I stumbled across you site. It looks like someone has asked you about a particular “Saddleback Caterpillar”, and that seems to fit the description of the picture I’m sending you now. Is that what this is? Thanks for your help!
Gray Benton
Iron Station, North Carolina

Hi Gray,
Yes, indeed, you have a Saddleback Caterpillar, Sibine stimulea. Beware those poisonous spines. They can cause quite a bit or irritation. Holland writes: “Nettles are not to be compared in stinging power to the armament of this beautifully colored larva.” Thanks for the photo and I’m so glad our site was helpful.

Can You Identify This Caterpillar?
Hi Bugman!
We have a butterfly garden, and I was just surprised to discover about 20 of these hairy orange, black and white caterpillars feeding on some plants out there. They’re small as caterpillars go — about 3/4″. I tried to find some like these on the internet, and I couldn’t, but in the course of trying I did find my way to your great website. Naturally, I’m curious to what these are (and I don’t plan to hurt or move them). Can you assist us in identifying them?
Cathy Whitt
Washington, DC

Of course we can Cathy,
You have Milkweed Moth Caterpillars, Euchaetias egle. The caterpillar is distinctive and unforgettable. This is a common insect, ranging from the Atlantic to the Mississippi and beyond. The caterpillars feed on plants in the milkweed family. The adult moth is creamy white-winged tiger moth with a yellow body. The body has black spots.

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.

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.

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.