This is the first time this bug has been here in 20+ years that I know of. We live in So. Calif., South West Riverside county. Each year we have invasions of different bugs, but rarely the same bug here twice in a row (years wise). This year is a hoard of 3 different catapillars and this one (pictures). It looks kinda like a Hellgrammite. They are all over the place, we have seen them eating dead catapillers but so far not killing them. They are about 1 1/4 inches long. One pict he is sitting on a 2×4 peice of wood. Sure would like to know what they are…friend or foe? Your web site is fantastic with good info, thanks for being there for the people that are interested in insects. Thanks
This is a Caterpillar Hunter Larva in the genus Calosoma. Caterpillar Hunters are Ground Beetles. We are expecting a big year for caterpillars in california because of all the rain over an extended period of time, which provided vegetation. We have gotten a few requests already for Caterpillar Hunter Larvae identification.
Thanks Daniel for the fast responce. Today I watched the larva in action and yes they are ferocious little critters. This year we do indeed have an over abundance of 4 types of caterpillers. I am glad we have the Hunters as the catetpillers are eating all vegetation they can find including the garden. Once again thanks and you have a real nice web site. I ues it often.