Hooded Owlet Caterpillar from South Africa

Subject: caterpillar
Location: pretoria
May 30, 2016 4:53 am
Halo bugman 🙂
I found 3 of these on a daisy type flower bush. sorry I’m a keen gardener but don’t remember the plant names. can you identify this and what kind of buuterfly does it become. is it a pest?
Signature: René

Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar
Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Dear René,
It was not until we searched through North American species of Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillars from the genus
Cucullia on BugGuide that we realized you were writing from South Africa.  BugGuide describes the caterpillars as:  “usually smooth (hairless) and very colorful, with mixed patterns of spots, stripes, and/or patches of mostly yellow, red, green, blue, and black – the range of variation between species is too complex to describe in general terms.”  We did find an excellent visual match to your Caterpillar on iSpot, but it is only identified to the genus level.  Adult Moths from the genus Cucullia are generally drab and brown, and it seems the caterpillars are the beautiful stage of development.  Your submission will not go live to our site until mid-June while we are away from the office. 

Good morning
Thank you for your prompt reply. I just assumed it’s a South African website. Where are you guys situated?
I asked all of our nurseries in the area and nobody knew that such a beautiful caterpillar turns into such a dull moth. I relocated all of them into the fields close to my house. Now they can leave my flowers alone!!! I’m a very novice gardener and plants EVERYTHING that looks pretty. I did not appreciate these guys ravishing a WHOLE bush in 3 days!!! So far it looks like only the earthworms are welcome in my garden.
Thanks again for the help!
Vriendelike groete / Kind regards

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