Currently viewing the category: "Caterpillars and Pupa"

Subject: Caterpillar
Location: Somerset West, Cape Town
April 11, 2013 10:30 pm
Hi – these caterpillars ate a flourishing pot of impatiens overnight last week. They are about five centimetres long, very fat, have two ”eyes” on the front of the head, and a spike at the end of the body. They are greenish-brown coloured. They didn’t react when touched – no curling. Do you know what they are. I’ve never had them in my garden before – not that I have seen. I live in Somerset West, outside Cape Town.
Signature: Christina

Vine Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Vine Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Christina,
This is a Hornworm, the harmless caterpillar of a Sphinx Moth or Hawkmoth in the family Sphingidae.  We did a web search for South African species and found this posting on Caterpillar Blog identified as
Hippotion celerio.  We then searched that name and found a nice posting on Butterfly House that includes stamps with images of the adult moth which is called the Vine Hawkmoth or Gabi Moth.  The Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic also provides some good information.

Subject: Huge Caterpillar
Location: Haifa, northern coast of Israel
April 12, 2013 4:39 am
I took this photo on 9th April, 2013 in Haifa, Israel in a residential area, just above sea level. It appears to be a caterpillar about six inches (15cm) long and an inch (3cm) wide. It’s lower half and head is an unpleasant shade of yellow, upper half is black, or near black with lots of white dots around the sides. Near the head are two spots which I would describe as looking like the eyes of a peacock tail (blue, greenish, with a black centre.
About 15 years ago I saw something very similar, about a mile away from where this picture was taken, only that caterpillar was much more colourful – same shade of yellow, black stripe down its back, but about five or six large ’peacock eye’ spots along its back. Also six inches long and an inch wide. I have never seen any others aside from these two, and when I asked the neighbours about it, they’d never seen one either. I sent a description of the first one I saw to several insect experts in various parts of the world, no one was able to identify it.
If it is a caterpillar, I’m wondering what sort of enormous, possibly man-eating butterfly it morphs into!
Signature: Kim Levy

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Kim,
This is the caterpillar of the Oleander Hawkmoth,
Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii, and it can be found in many warmer climates where oleander is grown.  The adult Oleander Hawkmoth is a lovely green and pink moth.  Caterpillars often change color and leave the plants they were feeding upon when they are nearing the time to pupate.  You can learn more on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.

Daniel,
Many thanks for your very speedy reply!  I had no idea what Oleander is but when I checked the web page you sent I recognised it. Locally it’s known as cHarduf, the most common shrub in the country, it grows EVERYWHERE!
I was surprised you identified my caterpillar so quickly when experts failed to ID the description of the first one I saw, but to be fair it was a bit different, and I see no others like it on the link you sent, though it’s clearly the same type. I’ve only seen two of these caterpillars in the 25 years I’ve lived here, and what a shame I’ve never seen the moth because it’s absolutely beautiful!

Subject: name of insect
Location: Malawi, Zomba
April 9, 2013 4:15 pm
Hi
I have this beautiful larvae and would like to know the name of the insect. I got this one around my fish farm pond in Africa, Malawi.
Signature: type written

Possibly Gonimbrasia zambesina Caterpillar

Possibly Gonimbrasia zambesina Caterpillar

Dear type written,
This is a Giant Silkworm in the family Saturniidae.  We believe it is in the genus
Gonimbrasia, and there are several species found in Malawi.  In our opinion, it looks close to the caterpillar of Gonimbrasia zambesina which can be viewed on the African Moths website.  The caterpillars feed on the leaves of Mango and some other trees.  We will check with Bill Oehlke to see if he is able to determine the species of this caterpillar.

Bill Oehlke confirms identification
Daniel,
I am pretty sure you are correct.
Bill

Subject: Caterpillars
Location: Limassol, Cyprus
April 7, 2013 1:45 am
I live in Cyprus where every year, around March, large clumps of black, furry, caterpillars appear in the lawn. They originate in web like stuff about 6-8 inches across. They hatch and stay in a pack until they are about an inch long and then they spread out and go their own separate way.
They are always confused with processionary caterpillars but they are not them. They do not start in a tree and they do not walk in a prcession but they are a similar size and colour. i want to try to educate people that these ones are harmless and stop people from killing them on mass because they fear for their animals etc.
Signature: Helen Coombes

Caterpillars

Caterpillars:  Web-Building Teddy Bears

Dear Helen,
We will attempt to research the identity of your Caterpillars, but for now, the best we can do is this YouTube video on massing Caterpillars from Cyprus.

Caterpillar Mass

Caterpillar Mass

Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist with this identification.  We are also tagging your submission with the Bug Humanitarian Award for your efforts in education your neighbors.

Caterpillar Swarm

Caterpillar Swarm

Update:
Thanks to Ben from Israel who identified these Web Building Teddy Bears as
Ocnogyna loewii.  The moth is pictured on the Greek Butterflies and Moths Team website.


Subject: Hornworm being attacked by Paper Wasps
Location: Miami, FL, USA
April 4, 2013 4:04 pm
I saw a half dozen paper wasps attacking the head of a fairly large hornworm. Have you ever heard of this behavior? (I cannot imagine them carrying it off, it was 4 inches long).
Signature: Steve W.

Hornworm attacked by Paper Wasps

Hornworm attacked by Paper Wasps

Dear Steve,
This Tobacco Hornworm appears to be eating a tomato plant, and it has “oblique whitish lateral lines”, so we suspect it might be
Manduca sexta, the Carolina Sphinx.  See BugGuide for additional information.  The Paper Wasps are in the genus PolistesPaper Wasps will attack caterpillars and skin them, transporting the balled up flesh to the nest where it is fed to the developing larvae.  They do not intend to carry off this Tobacco Hornworm.  We suspect they will work as a crew and bite off sections of the Tobacco Hornworm to carry it off to the nest.

Subject: Caterpillar
Location: Cairns Queensland Australia
March 24, 2013 6:36 am
Hi,
I would love if you could identify this caterpillar for me. It was found on my Kafir Lime Tree in Cairns, Tropical North Queensland, Australia. It is currently the end if the Wet Season, or the beginning of the Sourhern Hemisphere Autumn.
Signature: Scott Duncan

Fuscus Swallowtail Caterpillar

Fuscus Swallowtail Caterpillar

Hi Scott,
Initially we thought this was an Orchard Swallowtail Caterpillar, but your individual lacks the fleshy bumps characteristic of the Orchard Swallowtail Caterpillar, so we did some additional research and found the Fuscus Swallowtail,
Papilio fuscus, pictured on Butterfly House website where it is described as:  “green or brown, mottled with orange, green, yellow, and white, and has a white line along each side. The thoracic and the final abdominal segment each have a pair of conical lumps. The thorax is humped.”  Butterfly House also indicates:  “The species occurs in the tropical coastal areas of Australia, as several races” with the Queensland subspecies being Papilio fuscus capaneus.  It appears this is a new species for our site, so were curious if perhaps we had some individuals misidentified as Orchard Swallowtail Caterpillars, but in checking, we have no other Fuscus Swallowtail Caterpillars on our site.  Only the adult and not the caterpillar is pictured on the Brisbane Insect Website.  The red horns pictured in your photo is a scent organ, normally concealed, known as the osmeterium.  When the caterpillar is disturbed, it reveals the organ that produces a scent thought to repel predators.  The organ might also give the caterpillar the appearance of a snake which could startle a bird into fleeing, rather than trying to eat the caterpillar.  Many Swallowtail and Birdwing species have caterpillars that possess an osmeterium.