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

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Milkweed
Date: 08/09/2018
Time: 07:46 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Thi dc is not a monarch caterpillar
How you want your letter signed:  Sue

Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Dear Sue,
Knowing the plant upon which an insect is found it is often extremely helpful for identification purposes, but not all insects are found on plants, so we don’t have a field for that purpose.  Milkweed is not a “Geographic location” and knowing if something was sighted in Pennsylvania or California or South Africa is also quite helpful, and every bug is found somewhere on the planet, which is why we have a Geographic location field on our submission form.  Having the Geographic location is also of assistance for persons scouring the internet for identification purposes, so we hope you will write back and provide an actual Geographic location so we don’t have to leave that field blank in our posting.  This is a Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar, one of the many species, like the Monarch caterpillar, that depends upon milkweed for survival.  We don’t understand what “Thi dc” means since we could not locate it in the dictionary.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Large cocoon like spider web
Geographic location of the bug:  Baldwin, Maryland
Date: 08/04/2018
Time: 01:42 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I was wondering if you could tell me what kind of cocoon or web this is and what is inside it?
How you want your letter signed:  Thank you, Michele

Fall Webworms

Dear Michele,
This appears to be a web full of Fall Webworms,
Hyphantria cunea.   Here is a BugGuide image of the caterpillars that are inside the web.  According to BugGuide:  “About 120 species of hardwood trees have been recorded as larval hosts.  In the north, common hosts include alder, apple, ash, birch, Box-Elder (Acer negundo), cherry, elm, mulberry, poplar, willow.  In the south, common hosts include ash, hickory, maple, mulberry, oak, pecan, poplar, redbud, sweetgum, walnut, willow; preferences for different host plant species appear to be regional and seasonal.” 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Tyria jacobaeae moth caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Silverdale, WA
Date: 07/14/2018
Time: 04:22 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I thought you might like a photo of a Tyria jacobaeae (Cinnabar) moth  caterpillar, a species introduced into North America to help keep it’s host plant, Tanacetum vulgare (Tansy ragwort- flower shown  in photo) from over-proliferating.
Tyria jacobaeae is used in conjunction with Longitarsus jacobaeae (the Tansy ragwort flea beetle) for Tansy population control.
Although Tyria jacobaeae will feed on a couple of native plant species, it is my understanding that the frequency of this occuring does not seem to be of concern.
How you want your letter signed:  Bug aficionado

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar

Dear Bug aficionado,
Thanks for sending us a new image of a Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar and also thanks so much for the informative description.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Black Bristly Caterpillars
Geographic location of the bug:  San Diego, California
Date: 04/24/2018
Time: 03:05 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman, I have been finding these black bristly caterpillars every spring for 3 years in my backyard. They don’t have red or Orange bands so they aren’t Leopard Moth Caterpillars (Which is what ice been calling them). They have pale red/Orange bumps under they’re bristles. I have lots if questions so please write back asap!
How you want your letter signed:  Savannah D.

Probably Painted Tiger Moth Caterpillar

Dear Savannah,
This is the caterpillar of a Tiger Moth in the subfamily Arctiinae, the group that contains the Leopard Moth, though that is an eastern species.  Considering your location, we suspect this is the caterpillar of a Painted Tiger Moth,
Arachnis picta, a species that is quite numerous at our Mount Washington, Los Angeles office.  Alas, our go-to site for identifications, BugGuide, has no images of Painted Tiger Moth caterpillars except newly hatched individuals, however, BugGuide does provide this description:  “Larva – covered in dense black and cinnamon-colored bristles.”  The adult Painted Tiger Moth is a lovely insect that is frequently attracted to porch lights.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Butterfly eggs?
Geographic location of the bug:  Los Angeles, CA on side of wood door
Date: 11/05/2017
Time: 03:31 PM EDT
Hello, I noticed a gray moth about 1 inch big sitting on the side of my door outside.  Then, I noticed that it seemed like the gray parts were falling off and then an orange yellow butterfly was underneath. The next day, the butterfly was gone, but there were tiny dark silver eggs in a triangle shape. I thought it was just a remnant, but then 2 days later, these tiny little bugs started growing out of the eggs, and now the eggs are all gone. I’m just wondering what kind of bug they are and why the butterfly laid it on the door instead of a leaf.  Will they all die and should I do anything? Thank you.
How you want your letter signed:  Lecia

Painted Tiger Moth Caterpillar Hatchlings

Dear Lecia,
Based on your location, your description of the “gray moth” and the “orange yellow butterfly [that] was underneath” and the images of these newly hatched caterpillars, we are quite confident that the eggs were laid by a Painted Tiger Moth.  As an aside, a clutch of similar eggs hatched on our office screen door this week.  The Painted Tiger Moth is a pretty gray moth with reddish orange to yellow underwings.  Painted Tiger Moths are attracted to porch lights, and they frequently mate and lay eggs on the walls of homes that have lights that attract them.  Painting Tiger Moth caterpillar hatchlings look exactly like your images.  Painted Tiger Moths do not feed as adults and the female will die shortly after laying eggs.  It is possible the individual on your wall died and began to fall apart, first losing the wings which is why you thought the “gray moth” had a “orange yellow butterfly … underneath.”  Painted Tiger Moth caterpillars are generalist feeders that will eat a wide variety of weeds and other low growing plants in the yard.  For their first meal, they eat their egg shell and that provides them with the necessary energy to disperse in search of food.  It will save them a trip if you relocate them to a part of your yard with tender green sprouts, but they will also fend for themselves, though we imagine many will not survive. 

Painted Tiger Moth Caterpillar Hatchlings

Thank you so much.  I believe that you are right. Their eggs are completely gone now.
I really appreciate it. I Will try to move them to some leaves.

Lecia Harmer
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Moth Caterpillar?
Geographic location of the bug:  Central Florida
Date: 11/05/2017
Time: 04:01 PM EDT
This caterpillar seems to be enjoying eating the Blazing Star (Liatris gracilis).  I can’t find him in my butterfly or moth books but I’m guessing he is a moth caterpillar?  Perhaps not?
How you want your letter signed:  Gina

Saltmarsh Caterpillar

Dear Gina,
Though many Tiger Moth Caterpillars or Woolly Bears looks very similar, we believe based on this BugGuide image that your individual is a Saltmarsh Caterpillar.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on a wide variety of mainly weedy plants including anglepod (Gonolobus), dog fennel (Eupatorium capillifolium), ground cherry (Physalis), mallow (Anoda), milkweed (Asclepias), pigweed (Amaranthus), and sicklepod (Cassia tora), plus crops such as alfalfa, asparagus, bean, beet, cabbage, carrot, celery, clover, corn, cotton, lettuce, onion, pea, potato, soybean, sugarbeet, tobacco, tomato, and turnip. On rare occasions, they also feed on leaves of deciduous trees and shrubs: alder, apple, cherry, elderberry, pear, poplar, and serviceberry, according to Handfield.”  Their generalist feeding habits have resulted in a species distribution from coast to coast in North America.

Saltmarsh Caterpillar

Thank you very much Daniel! I just looked up the Salt Marsh Moth and am hoping that I’ll get to see the caterpillar pupate or at least see the pupa and then the emerging moth. It’s beautiful!
I have started a blog about our new Central Florida yard and hope it is OK to link to your site. I posted my photos yesterday of this caterpillar and commented that I was going to ask What’s That Bug so will go back and update my post with your response and link to your site. The blog is mostly for my husband and I to look back on but I’ve made it public in case it is of interest to others interested in native gardening photos or critters/bugs/birds of Florida.
Thank you very much for all the education you offer!

Hi Gina,
Of course you may link to our site.  Links to outside sites are one of the reasons the internet is such a network.  We posted the link you provided for your site, which we visited.  You will be amazed at how much you are able to document in a year if you stay diligent.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination