Currently viewing the category: "Tent Caterpillars and Kin"

Subject: Elizabeth Preger here!
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
March 20, 2016 9:56 am
I came across this beautiful caterpillar several years ago in Bangkok, Thailand. It was during the monsoon season and I found this creature crawling on the sidewalk during a dry day. I was struck by it’s bright yellow color, but had no idea what it was.
What is it bugman?
Signature: Your favorite model

Rose Myrtle Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Rose Myrtle Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Dear Elizabeth,
It did not take long for us to find a matching image on the Thailex website identifying this as a Rose Myrtle Lappet Moth Caterpillar, and the description that it has  ” black and yellow bands, an orangey head and legs, with some yellow markings, and some pale blue spots on the black bands. The hairs on the body are mostly whitish, yet there are two characteristic black-coloured bristles of long hairs at either side of the head.”  Searching with that common name, we found the scientific name
 Trabala vishnou on Project Noah, and we are curious if the species name relates to the Hindu deity.  The Nature and More website also has an image of the adult moth.
Now regarding your signature, you place us in a difficult position with your claim that you are our favorite model.  If we confirm that claim, then that might place us in the doghouse with other models, so we will refrain from the superlative, but we cannot deny that your ease and willingness before the camera jumpstarted our recent renaissance in both photography and film, and that photographs of you are among the best we have produced in recent years.  Thank you for being a muse.

Rose Myrtle Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Rose Myrtle Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Subject: Big boy caterpillar
Location: Albany, Western Australia
January 11, 2016 6:05 am
Hi bug man!
Just found this beauty romping around in my Spanish moss and no one can figure out what it is!
What is he?!?!
Signature: Curious caterpillar carer

Gum Snout Moth Caterpillar

Gum Snout Moth Caterpillar

Dear Curious Caterpillar Carer,
Your caterpillar has two fleshy, forward facing horns that should make identification somewhat easy.  We believe we have correctly identified your caterpillar as
Entometa fervens, the Common Gum Snout Moth Caterpillar, thanks to the Butterfly House website where it is described as:  “The caterpillar has a prominent projection on the back near the posterior end, and a pair of fleshy filaments behind the head. It is solitary, and feeds at night on a variety of Gum Trees” , but we would not discount it being another member of the genus.  The Spotted Gum Moth caterpillar, Entometa guttularis, is described on Butterfly House as being:  “The Caterpillars of this species are brown. sometimes mottled, and sometimes plain brown. The caterpillars have a pair of erectable fleshy howns behind the head, and a floppy knob on the tail. The caterpillars have been recorded feeding on the foliage of of various members of Myrtaceae.”  It is described on iNaturalist as being:  “a large fleshy Caterpillar with soft downy hairs. The caterpillar has a prominent projection on the back near the posterior end, and a pair of fleshy filaments behind the head.”

Gum Snout Moth Caterpillar

Gum Snout Moth Caterpillar

Hi Daniel,
Thanks very much for taking the time to reply to my msg,
He must of been very happy indeed in my air plant because now I’ve got a cocoon
How exiting!
Cheers mate
-Sally

Yeah no worries, hopefully I’ll catch him hatching that’d be great!

Subject: Unknown Caterpillar
Location: Independence MO (KCMO area)
July 3, 2015 6:52 pm
My family and I found this guy on our hosta plant leaf tonight (July 3rd). I’ve spent all night searching the internet looking for WHAT kind of caterpillar it is and have found nothing even similar! Can you please help?!?
Signature: Joey Phillips

Possibly Tolype Caterpillar

Possibly Tolype Caterpillar

Dear Joey,
This is a Lappet Moth Caterpillar in the family Lasiocampidae, probably in the subfamily Macromphaliinae, and possibly a Large Tolype,
Tolype vellada, based on this image posted to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on leaves of a variety of broadleaf trees and shrubs. Wagner lists ‘apple, ash, aspen, basswood, beech, birch, cherry, oak and other woody plants.'”  Do any of those trees grow near your Hosta?  Hosta is not a host plant and we believe the caterpillar might have fallen from the tree or that it might be searching for an ideal location to commence pupation.

Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Lappet Moth Caterpillar

Daniel,
Thank you so much for your timely response! Very interesting, although I was hoping we had discovered something here! One of our giant ash trees hang over the hosta plants, so that would explain where he may have fallen from. I have not been able to locate him this morning. Please feel free to post, as I was unable to find ANYTHING similar during my wide internet search. Is it in a certain ‘stage’ perhaps?
Joey

This looks like a large individual, and as we mentioned earlier, it may be looking for a location to pupate.

Lappet Moth Caterpillar may be Large Tolype

Lappet Moth Caterpillar may be Large Tolype

Subject: big crowd of caterpillars.
Location: Phuket, southern Thailand
May 16, 2015 4:08 am
Found these motionless near the foot of a tree. About 100 of them. they are about 2 inches/5 cm long and were all facing in the same direction. Though they were well camouflaged, a big pile if droppings below was a bit of a giveaway.
Signature: Alasdair

Possibly Lappet Moth Caterpillar Aggregation

Possibly Lappet Moth Caterpillar Aggregation

Dear Alasdair,
We found what appears to be a good visual match to your caterpillars on Shutterstock, but alas, it is only identified as a “blue spotted caterpillar”.  We believe your images depict an aggregation of Lappet Moth Caterpillars from the family Lasiocampidae, but we have not had any luck with a conclusive identification.  Several similar looking caterpillars identified only as Lasiocampidae are pictured on Thai Bugs

Aggregation of Caterpillars:  Possibly Lappet Moth Caterpillars

Aggregation of Caterpillars: Possibly Lappet Moth Caterpillars

Update from Alasdair
Dear Daniel,
Thai friends have identified it. Eupterote tertacea (Walker). Not much on the web and all of it in Thai. It’s a well known pest here – moves in gangs, infests and destroys sugar cane. When touched can cause severe itching.
Cheers.
Alasdair

Thanks for that information Alasdair.  We found a few listings in Thai with that spelling, including this Thai site, but there are more hits with the spelling Eupterote testacea.   We do not believe that is the correct identification.  We found images of the Caterpillar of Eupterote testacea on Insects of Thailand and they look nothing like those in your images, and images on Stock Photo appear to be an even different species.  An image on Guzjung Story does resemble your caterpillars.  Since we cannot really locate a reputable site with images, we are still classifying this as unidentified.

Wise decision!
Thanks for trying. Really impressed by the work you chaps are doing.
Alasdair

Subject: Caterpillar identification
Location: Fort Worth, TX
April 18, 2015 3:19 pm
Hi –
Any chance that you can tell me what kind of caterpillar this is? I have two young girls that are very curious about it.
Signature: Not sure what this means…

Forest Tent Caterpillar

Forest Tent Caterpillar

Your caterpillar is a Forest Tent Caterpillar, Malacosoma disstria.

Subject: Under the motorhome
Location: East Texas
April 4, 2015 6:31 pm
We just spent the past five months in an RV park near Miami FL. On the way home to CA, we stopped in Livingston TX. We were here for a week when this afternoon I found this infestation of caterpillars around the front of the RV and no where else in the area.
My questions:
What are they?
Did I bring them from FL to TX?
Is this a problem?
Signature: Frank Liberty

Forest Tent Caterpillars

Forest Tent Caterpillars

Dear Frank,
These are Forest Tent Caterpillars,
Malacosoma disstria, which we quickly identified on BugGuide, and while we cannot say for certain that you did not transport them from Florida to Texas, we believe it is highly unlikely.  According to BugGuide, they are found in both Florida and Texas, and they can be distinguished from other Tent Caterpillars based on this BugGuide description:  “Larvae: dark-gray to brownish-black background body color, highlighted by broad, pale-blue lines and thin, broken yellow lines extending along each side; dorsum of each abdominal segment has distinct whitish keyhole or shoeprint-shaped marking; body has fine, whitish, and sparsely distributed hairs.”