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

Subject:  WTF? Crazy sea urchin looking bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Middle Tennessee
Date: 10/03/2019
Time: 05:32 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  So found this bug around 4 o’clock In the morning while taking the dog to the bathroom. Actually my dog found it. Idk if it was curled into a ball as a defense mechanism or if this is just what it looks like. I grew up here and have never seen anything remotely close to this. Other than those hairy black and red caterpillar ant things that bite the crap out you and hurt like well you know. Anyway I don’t think that is what this is cause I’ve never seen one of those this big before. As a matter of perspective it’s in a normal size pickle jar so you can see it’s roughly the size of a ping pong ball or so. Any ideas?
How you want your letter signed:  SimplySimon

Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar

Dear SimplySimon,
This is a Woolly Bear, the caterpillar of a Tiger Moth in the subfamily Arctiinae.  We are relatively confident it is a Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar,
Hypercompe scribonia, which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Late instar caterpillar mostly black with tufts of stiff black hairs of equal length radiating around body. Rolls up head to tail when disturbed. When curled, red intersegmental rings visible between the hairs.”  We have numerous images on our site of the adult Giant Leopard Moth, but not many of the caterpillars so your submission is a welcome addition to our archives.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Fuzzy Wuzzy Friend
Geographic location of the bug:  Holly Springs, MS
Date: 09/27/2019
Time: 10:01 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi again Daniel!
A previous Bug Queen here. I have a new friend I have since freed to the yard. Would you please be so kind as to identify my fuzzy wuzzy pal?
How you want your letter signed:  Your biggest fan, Stephanie

Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Dear Stephanie,
This looks like a Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar,
Halysidota tessellaris, to us, and though it is a variably colored caterpillar, it does match the individual in this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on leaves of alder, ash, birch, elm, hazel, hickory, oak, poplar, tulip tree, walnut, willow.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Caterpillar eating water hyacinth
Geographic location of the bug:  Lake Hiawassee, Orlando, Florida
Date: 02/12/2019
Time: 02:02 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Closest I can find is Larva of the arctiid moth Paracles sp.
How you want your letter signed:  Phil

Tiger Moth Caterpillar on Water Hyacinth

Dear Phil,
We believe you might be correct.  We found an Invasive.org posting of
Paracles tenuis and the site states:  “Host:  common water hyacinth” and we are presuming the water hyacinth is the invasive species in question.  iNaturalist lists the genus Paracles in South America.  We don’t find the species listed on BugGuide, so this might be a new North American sighting.  Right now we are being thwarted in our research by a glacially slow internet.  We want to browse all Arctiinae caterpillars on BugGuide before we eliminate any native species.

Dear Daniel,
Thanks for the reply and your efforts in this matter. The one I sent you a picture escaped when I wasn’t looking. I found a second smaller one (earlier instar, picture attached) and am continuing to look for others as I am mechanically removing the water hyacinth from the lake as it is an exotic and extremely invasive plant. I will attempt to rear this and any others I find to the adult moth to better secure the identification.
Thanks so much for your help.
Saludos,
Phil
https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/lake-hiawassee-slc-yard

Tiger Moth Caterpillar

Dear Phil,
Good luck eradicating those water hyacinths, an invasive plant species from the Amazon.  We wonder if the caterpillars you found are part of a program to help control the water hyacinths with biological methods.  We look forward to any further updated you can provide, including images of the adult moth.

Tiger Moth Caterpillar

Dear Daniel,
I wouldn’t suspect the caterpillar as a means of control. I have found only 5 in an area of 400 sqft and from what I have seen they only sample a few leaves before moving onto another plant.
In addition to my hand removal of the water hyacinth, the city has sprayed a herbicide twice so far killing (and leaving to rot in place) far more than I could hope to remove by hand.
Bit by bit, but is an aggressive plant and dense to the point of killing all plants below it.
Thanks for your help. I will be back if I am successful in rearing a caterpillar.
Saludos,
Phil Wittman
Come look a Cobra in the eye!
www.reptileworldserpentarium.com

 

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Waxhaw, NC
Date: 09/08/2018
Time: 04:30 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Saw it in some fresh laid hay used by our groundskeeper.
How you want your letter signed:  KathyS

Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Dear KathyS,
This is a Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar,
Halysidota harrisii, and here is a BugGuide image for comparison.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Caterpillar stripping leaves on apple trees
Geographic location of the bug:  N. central NH
Date: 08/27/2018
Time: 04:26 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, I found my apple trees being stripped of leaves and these critters seem to be the obvious culprits. Can you identify it for me?
Thanks
How you want your letter signed:  David

Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Dear David,
This is a Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar,
Halysidota tessellaris, and according to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on alder, ash, birch, elm, hazel, hickory, oak, poplar, tulip tree, walnut, willow.”  BugGuide does have a posting of an individual found under an apple tree.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Yellow and Black Fuzzy Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Georgia… east of Atlanta
Date: 08/26/2018
Time: 07:30 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Bugman,
Found this guy running through our garage. He caught our attention because he was moving fast! Tried to search Google, but can’t find one that looks exactly right. I know there are a lot of different wooly bears, but none of them look quite like this one. The black bands have longer hairs than the yellow. We took this picture, then gently led him outside to the trees.
Thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Curious in Georgia

Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar

Dear Curious in Georgia,
You are correct there are a lot of different Woolly Bear caterpillars, because according to BugGuide: “265 species in 88 genera listed at nearctica.com” which means there are 265 different caterpillars in the Tiger Moth subfamily.  As you can see from this BugGuide image, this appears to be a Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar.  According to BugGuide:  “Late instar caterpillar mostly black with tufts of stiff black hairs of equal length radiating around body. Rolls up head to tail when disturbed. When curled, red intersegmental rings visible between the hairs.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination