Currently viewing the category: "Prominent Moth Caterpillars"
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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?

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,

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?

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Caterpillar on Persimmon
Attached are two photos of a caterpillar that I found on my native persimmon tree here in eastern Pennsylvania. These pics were taken this morning, 15 July 2007. The caterpillar is about 1.5 inches long. Do you know what this is? Thanks,
Rick Stuby

Hi Rick,
We believe this to be a Saddled Prominent Caterpillar, Heterocampa guttivitta, as pictured on BugGuide.

Mr. Marlos,
Thank you for the very quick reply! I looked on Bugguide (thanks for that reference, too) at the Heterocampa guttivitta and other photos from the genus. I see a number of similarities, but I do not think that what I “have” is guttivitta. The head on mine is black, not green and there are no dark markings on the dorsal line of mine. I have attached another photo which may show that better. There is a small green-yellow X-shaped saddle on it. If you have any other ideas, please let me know. In any case, I appreciate your time and effort! Kind regards,
Rick Stuby

Caterpillars are often variable. Try these links

Thank you yet again, Mr. Marlos. I guess that it could be guttivitta. I’m tempted to put it in a jar and find out, but I don’t think I have the patience or the ability to distinguish subtle differences that are no doubt in the adults as well! I really appreciate your interest and your resources. God bless,
Rick Stuby

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