Currently viewing the category: "Prominent Moth Caterpillars"
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Caterpillar identification needed
Greetings,
Today I discovered a cluster of caterpillars on a Pieris Japonica at my home here in Raleigh, North Carolina. I’m a school librarian (aka “media specialist)” and I plan to bring in a couple of these “specimens” to show the students at our school, Brassfield Road Elementary. Naturally the display would be more educational if I could identify them. I didn’t find a match in my small field guide at home, and I was so impressed with your web site, I thought I’d defer to your expertise. Thanks so much for your help with the identification,
Vicki Sanders Corporon
Raleigh, NC

Hi Vicki,
These are Azalea Caterpillars, Datana major. According to BugGuide, in addition to azalea leaves which they prefer, they “have also been recorded on apple, blueberry, Red Oak, and Bog Rosemary (Andromeda polifoloa ).”

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What the…
Bugman, can you help
We have recently found a strange larvae in the garden (photo attached) and have no idea what beetle it might be. It was about 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. We have a wood close to our garden and plenty of strange things regularly appear but never quite this big. Probably quite common but I would be very interested to know what it is. Thanks for your help Regards
Tim Cooper
ps. home is southern England

Hi Tim,
You might be surprised to find out that your unusual creature is a caterpillar, a Lobster Moth Caterpillar, Stauropus fagi. The adult moth is not very remarkable looking, but the caterpillar resembles a crustacean. It feeds on the leaves of oak trees. We generally receive images of rust colored Lobster Moth Caterpillars, and that agrees with images posted online. Perhaps the dark chocolate brown coloration is due to approaching pupation as many other caterpillars change color just before metamorphosis.

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Can you identify this photo for me?
I live in Columbia, South Carolina and found this caterpillar on an azalea bush this morning. My sister says it devours all the leaves on azaleas. When I went back to find it later, it was nowhere to be seen. What is it, please? Thanks.
Lane Bowden

Hi Lane,
This is a Prominent Moth Caterpillar in the genus Datana. The posture is quite distinctive. According to BugGuide, the species is Datana major, the Azalea Caterpillar.

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Found on a rose leaf
I found several of these caterpillars on my rose bush and I can not find any info on it. can you help?
Ann

Hi Ann,
These are a type of Prominent Moth Caterpillar known as the Unicorn Caterpillar, Schizura unicornis. BugGuide lists many food plants, including apple (related to rose), willow, alder, hickory, aspen, birch and elm.

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Lobstermoth caterpillar pictures!
My house has a guest! Well, this one is living outside. When I found him (or her) clinging to my son’s shoelace, I put him in a box and took him to the Butterfly House. The lady at admitting, after peeling herself nervously off the wall, pointed me to the next building over where they concentrate on such lovely natural wildlife. Of course, I already knew I was holding a Lobstermoth Caterpillar. What I didn’t know was what this fellow ate, and what it’s known as here in Northern Japan. They’re called Shachihokoga. Ga meaning moth, and Shachihoko being those fish-shaped gargoyles adorning the roofs of some houses. … The pictures were snapped by a nice fellow at the nature center who has a camera that can macro. Someday I’ll have one. Or learn to use one… or both. He told me they eat chestnut, acorn and other such leaves. Really?
Jill Sylvan

Hi Jill,
The crazy looking Lobster Moth Caterpillar, can be found throughout Europe, and in parts of temperate Asia including Korea and China as well as Japan. The range information was located on what we believe to be a Scandinavian website.

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caterpillar id and behavior explanation
Hello. I was in a swampy woods in northwest Indiana when I came across a group of caterpillars in a very strange arrangement. There were approximately 20 in the group, and they were all congregated together, but more interestingly their arrangement was exactly symmetrical. I’ve attached a photo. Can you tell me what these caterpillars are and what they’re doing? The closest I can come using a caterpillar ID book is Gulf Fritillary, but I think I may be a bit out of their range. Thanks,
Scott

Hi Scott,
This behavior is consistant with caterpillars in the genus Datana, but there are no images on BugGuide that exactly match this coloration. Identifying the food plant might help with an identification.

Thanks for getting back to me. The caterpillars that I saw were on Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry). I’m guessing Datana ministra?
Scott.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination