Currently viewing the category: "moth caterpillars"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Rare Insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern New Jersey
Date: 08/08/2019
Time: 07:26 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This weird/rare looking insect is eating the leaves on our Asian pear tree & when my husband pulled one off a leaf it stung him & left his skin feeling temporarily numb.
How you want your letter signed:  Sharon Beningo

Saddleback Caterpillar

Dear Sharon,
The Saddleback Caterpillar,
Acharia stimulea, is not considered rare, and BugGuide reports sightings in much of eastern North America.  The stinging capability of the Saddleback Caterpillar is well documented, including on Featured Creatures where it states:  “Color patterns are aposematic, or having bright warning colors that denote toxicity or distastefulness” and “The large spines and potent hemolytic venom rank it as one of the most important North American species of urticating caterpillars.”

Thanks so much for your quick response. We will definitely not be touching any more of them!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What’s this caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Tallahassee, FL
Date: 08/04/2019
Time: 02:26 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can you please ID this caterpillar?  There are tons of them under my life oak.  They’re eating my shrubs.
How you want your letter signed:  Thank you in advance, Michael

Azalea Caterpillars

Dear Michael,
The arched posture these Caterpillars have assumed is typical of Prominent Caterpillers in the genus
Datana, and we are pretty confident they are Azalea Caterpillars, Datana major, based on this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide:  “larvae feed mainly on leaves of azalea (Rhododendron spp.) but have also been recorded on apple, blueberry, Red Oak, and Bog Rosemary (Andromeda polifoloa).”  Are your shrubs azaleas?

Azalea Caterpillars

Not azalea,  not certain what they are but evergreen somewhat waxy foliage.  Thanks for your time on this
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Curious Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Connecticut, USA
Date: 08/04/2019
Time: 10:58 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I was hiking and picked up a stick, and underneath I saw a caterpillar-looking bug, presumably hiding its head in a hole in the stick (possibly snacking on the wood?). I tried looking up what kind of caterpillar it was, but can’t find a similar picture with any of my google searches. Please help me learn what kind of bug I found, it looks so cool! Thanks! (Please see picture attached.)
How you want your letter signed:  Andi

Beautiful Wood Nymph Caterpillar

Dear Andi,
Because we began our search with a false lead, our identification of this Beautiful Wood Nymph caterpillar,
Eudryas grata, took some additional time.  Our wrong lead began with locating this image online and the associated site, Beautiful Now, where it is associated with the following caption: “We love the beautiful blackberry and flower petal-eating Blackberry Looper (Chlorochlamys chloroleucaria) patterned with both stripes and polka dots, in bold shades of orange, white, and black.”  The Blackberry Looper Caterpillars on BugGuide are a very different Caterpillar.  Additional searching led us to this BugGuide image of the Beautiful Wood Nymph Caterpillar.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on leaves of several shrubs, vines: Ampelopsis, Buttonbush, grape, hops, Virginia Creeper.”  We wouldn’t rule out that this might be the related Pearly Wood Nymph Caterpillar, Eudryas unio, which is also pictured on BugGuide.  We don’t know why it was crawling into the hole in the stick.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Green caterpillar with reddish/brown markings along the back
Geographic location of the bug:  Benzie Michigan
Date: 08/02/2019
Time: 07:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Is this a harmless caterpillar or one that can kill trees?
I looked at 100s of green caterpillar photos to identify it and none look like this one
I’ve been having some tree problems and he was found in the area but I’m thinking not the culprit.  Maybe, maybe not.  Trying to decide if I should relocate him, as the gypsy moth virus/fungus is helping remove those caterpillars and it might be contagious
How you want your letter signed:  C

Linden Prominent Caterpillar

Dear C,
For the most part, native caterpillars are rarely a threat to native plants.  Introduced species like the Gypsy Moth have no natural enemies when they are introduced, which is why exotic imported species often threaten sensitive ecosystems.  We do not recognize your striking Caterpillar, and our initial internet investigation did not produce anything worth citing, so we are posting it as Unidentified and we are hoping our readers help us identify what we suspect is a Noctuoid Caterpillar.

Update:  Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash, we are confident this is a Linden Prominent Moth Caterpillar, Ellida caniplaga, which is pictured on BugGuideBugGuide notes “The larvae feed on the leaves of basswood (=linden)” and “The larvae are rarely seen (for many years the description of the caterpillar was not known) because they usually feed high in the canopy of basswood trees; they are most likely to be observed descending the trunk of the tree enroute to their pupation site in the soil.”

Thanks so much.  I do have a very tall linden tree nearby and this bug must’ve dropped from the top onto my deck.    Never seen one like it before
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  HI, is this tomato worm?
Geographic location of the bug:  SW Michigan
Date: 08/01/2019
Time: 09:43 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi is this a good ol tomoato worm or? Thanks so much!
How you want your letter signed:  Jules

Cecropia Caterpillar

Dear Jules,
Your submission was perfectly timed to be selected as our Bug of the Month for August 2019.  We suspect your “tomoato worm” is a Tobacco Hornworm, the caterpillar most commonly associated with tomatoes.  This Cecropia Caterpillar is a member of the Giant Silkmoth family Saturniidae.  It most likely left its food plant to search for a suitable site for pupation.  The adult Cecropia Moth is a gorgeous creature.

Yay, thank you! that was a quick response too.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Giant Caterpillar Found!
Geographic location of the bug:  Mexico, Guanajuato State
Date: 07/30/2019
Time: 12:58 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  Hi there! I was in my yard today and was shocked when I discovered this huge, mauvey colored, black striped caterpillar. I tried searching around the internet to indentify it but I had no luck. It seemed to have a single eye-like pattern in the middle of its butt, which made me think maybe it was a swallowtail, but again I can’t find anything like it. I am really interested in knowing what it is and would be so grateful if you could help! It’s also the summer/hot/rainy season here in Mexico if that helps! Thanks for your efforts!
How you want your letter signed:  Emma

Typhon Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear Emma,
The “single eye-like pattern in the middle of its butt is known as a caudal bump, a mark at the tip of the abdomen that marks the spot where a caudal horn was shed from a prior molt.  Because of that caudal bump, we correctly guessed the genus and then quickly located matching images of a Typhon Sphinx Caterpillar,
Eumorpha typhon, on Sphingidae of the Americas where it states the larval food plant is grape.  Do you have a nearby grape vine?

Typhon Sphinx Caterpillar

Wow thank you for identifying it so quickly! That’s so fascinating! We initially believed that it had fallen off from a vine that runs along our fence and into our courtyard, so that makes perfect sense. Not sure if it is a grape vine however. Yesterday I put it back on the vine, so I’m glad that’s where it wanted to be. Thank you again!

It might have left the vine to find a place to pupate.  Many Sphinx Caterpillars burrow underground to pupate.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination