Largest Caterpillar I have ever seen!
Good day!
I have looked through your 3 pages of caterpillars, w/o success. Found this enormous caterpillar (well, I guess it is a caterpillar) in Midlothian, Virginia (near Richmond, Virginia). It was at least 5 inches long and very thick and hairy. We camp and hike a lot and have never seen a caterpillar this size before. We didn’t keep it because we were afraid we would accidentally kill it, and of course it’s gone now. Just very curious. Have attached photos. I love your website! What beautiful critters you have there.
Thanks,
Sami

Hi Sami,
It is understandable that you couldn’t identify your caterpillar even though we have several on the site. This is an Imperial Moth Caterpillar. They are usually green, sometimes blue green, occasionally yellowish orange, sometimes light brown, and then there is your example, dark brown, which is a color we have never seen. The black horns are particularly noteworthy.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Correction on Crowned Slug Caterpillar ID
Dear Bugman,
In regards to " Crowned Slug Caterpillar (07/14/2005) Strange bug", I do believe the key word in the sender’s question is "vine" as this is not a caterpillar, but the very minute larva of the Golden Tortoise Beetle, Metriona bicolor. I’ve had oodles of them myself on my decorative sweet potato vines and they will "shotgun" pattern the leaves to the point of decimating the plant (one characteristic hole is partially visible to the left of the larva). They use their fecal pellets as a dorsal shield which they elevate when alarmed, hence the "dark thing" falling off (probably physically knocked off when poked.) I’ve been keeping a culture of them for a couple years now and hope to be publishing some research on them in the not-too-distant future. I haven’t taken any macro shots of the larvae myself, but check out the link below and I think you’ll see that the clarity/quality of the photo on your site makes it appear to be much larger than it is in reality. [see this site]
The adults are fascinating in that they can change color, from a dun/CLEAR tannish color when disturbed (below) to a shining gold when feeding and at rest. Truly gorgeous; like drops of molten gold! Keep up the good work,
Bradley Goettle
Clemson University
Dept of Entomology, Soils, and Plant Sciences
Graduate Research Assistant

Hi Bradley,
Thanks for the correction and the fascinating letter. The original letter is reproduced below.

Not a Crowned Slug Caterpillar, but Tortoise Beetle Larva
(07/14/2005) Strange bug
I found this bug on the leaf of a vine growing around one of my hedges. I poked it with a stick and it moved. So I poked it again and the dark thing on the end of it fell off. It seemed to be anchored to the leaf though. There were more on other leaves too. I can’t figure out what it is. Can you help?


unknown spider
hi bugman, my husband found this spider yesterday out in our flower garden. could you let me know if it is harmful or not. thanx. we live in Quinnesec, MI.
kim v.

Hi Kim,
Golden Orb Weavers, Argiope aurantia, are harmless, though they might bite if provoked. Your specimen, which appears to be taller than a telephone pole, might do some serious damage. We would definitely run if it came our way.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Milkweed Bug
Hi Bug Man….
a search on your webpage suggests that these are Small Milkweed bugs. Is the one in the upper left hand corner also a small Milkweed bug (perhaps a WEE small milkweed bug)? Or is it another species altogether? The bugs were found, appropriately, on a swamp milkweed pod.
Thanks,
Jill

Hi Jill,
Great photo. These are all Small Milkweed Bugs, Lygaeus kalmii. The smallest is an immature nymph that will grow wings at the final molt.

WHAT’S THE BUZZ??PAIR OF BUMBLE BEES MATING??
Hey Bugman!!
I came across this pair of bumblebees in my driveway..they definitely appeared to be making LITTLE BABY BUMBLEBEES. They were there for 3 hours..when I checked on them a few minutes ago..they..were GONE….apparently they flew off into the wild blue yonder. Happy Buggin’..or should I say..BUZZIN’!!
Dee Rocanello
East Islip, Long Island, NY

Hi Dee,
Thanks for the contribution.

Steamboat Rock State Park WA red headed bugs
Hello,
Can you tell me what these bugs are that my daughter and son-in-law saw on a shrub on top of 800′ Steamboat Rock that rises above Steamboat Rock State Park on Banks Lake in Eastern Washington State just south of Grand Coulee Dam?
Thank you,
Genelle

Hi Genelle,
This photo of mating Blister Beetles looks like Lytta magister. In checking BugGuide, we found that all the images of this insect were from Arizona. We are getting a second opinion.