Parasitized Cecropia Caterpillar

Large green caterpillar
I just found this large catterpillar hanging from a tree and was wondering what it was. I found it hanging in what I think was a eurpean buckthorn tree in the Oak Ridge’s Morraine, Clarington, Ontario, Canada. It was at the edge of a forest with bitternut hickory trees, swamp oak, white oak, red oak, pines, maple, silver birch, butternut, hawthorn, yellow beech and a wide variety of plants. I’m curious about what it is and will turn into! It seems to be quite close to changing into a chrysalis, it was hanging upside down and not moving when I found it. It’s very inactive.

Hi Stella,
The good news is we can identify your Cecropia Moth Caterpillar. The bad news is that it will not live to adulthood. The orange, yellow and blue tubercles are typical caterpillar markings, but the white nodules with the brown spots are a sign the caterpillar has been parasitized, probably by a Brachonid Wasp. These pupa look much smaller than the Brachonid Pupa we sometimes see on Sphingidae caterpillars and Saddleback Caterpillars, so they must be a different species. We will try to contact Bill Oehlke to see if he can tell us what species of Brachonid parasitizes Cecropia Caterpillars.

1 thought on “Parasitized Cecropia Caterpillar”

  1. I found a Cecropia moth caterpillar being harassed by yellow jackets- probably Vespula maculifrons here in NC. It had fallen from an elderberry bush I was pruning. I rescued the caterpillar but moved it to a red maple far away and much later. A yellow jacket found it so he is inside in a terrarium, responding to stimulus but not feeding and no pupa yet


Leave a Comment