Currently viewing the category: "moth caterpillars"

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?

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.”

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.

I found this inchworm on my clematis flower. It is red in color. I can’t seem to find a “red” inchworm on the internet. Someone told me it is an inchworm because it has legs in the front and legs in the back, not in the middle, and it moves by moving its center up … like an inchworm. But is red or maybe dark pink in color. I have a picture but it is blurry. The first pic is on the flower. The second pic I took it off and put it on a napkin. It is very tiny so hard to take a pic with my camera.

Hi Claire,
Inchworms are the caterpillars of Geometrid Moths. Sorry, I don’t know of a pink or red caterpillar, but there is often little information on caterpillars. I will continue to check and possibly get back to you.

So we found 3 of these in the soil of our vegetable garden. In case location info helps, we live in Orange County, California about 4 miles from the beach and our soil has a lot of clay. The only things I’ve seen large enough to come from this are what are commonly called tomatoe worms here, or potato bugs. We saw a couple potato bugs in the garden last year but I haven’t been able to find any information about their life cycle, so I guess my question is two-fold: what is this chrysalis, and if it’s not a potato bug, what is the life cycle of a potato bug?

Hi Linda,
You have a pupa from the Tomato Hornworm, also known as the Tobacco Sphinx, Manduca sexta. The large green caterpillars you find on your tomato plants bury themselves in the dirt and pupate into the form you have dug up. They emerge as large moths, lay eggs and begin the cycle again.

Valley Carpenter Bee and White Lined Sphinx Hornworm

Thanks for your article identifying the “fuzzy blonde bees” that have been patrolling our hillside for the last week. I’m so glad my Yahoo search came up with your page. It was very hard to find any info on anything but black carpenter bees, even in our 3 or 4 insect field guides only one mentioned that carpenter bees could be coloured differently.
We have a current troop of about 5 “blonde boys” and as of yet, no sign of their black female counterparts.
I’ve attached a jpg of a larvae we have found here lately. Have never seen it before in 7 years… Now we’ve seen two, both striped with anal horns. One, in the creek, was much darker than this one, but on both the horn and the mouthparts are gold. We have very few domestic plants around our cabin in the National Forest, but tons of nightshade. Could these be hornworms of some type? They are quite lovely to behold, but a very odd find here.
V Novo

Dear V Novo,
The male Valley Carpenter Bees, Xylocopa varipuncta, are much shorter lived than the females. I have been seeing female bees this spring, visiting my Honey Suckle as well as the Wisteria.
Your caterpillar is a White Lined Sphinx or Striped Morning Sphinx, Hyles lineata, a beautiful moth with a three inch wingspan. I have been seeing adult moths on the USC campus, resting in the eaves of the outdoor hallways near the art building. They have an almost infinite list of food plants, but are very fond of fuschia.