Snowbush Spanworms, NOT Azalea Caterpillars

May 2, 2010
My niece found these in her garden and I would like to know what kind of caterpillars they are and if they are harmful.
Miami, Florida

Handfull of (possibly) Azalea Caterpillars

Hi Amy,
These look like they might be Azalea Caterpillars, Datana major, but it is impossible to tell from this photo which obscures many details.  It would also be helpful to know what plant they were found eating upon.  According to BugGuide, “larvae present July to October
” and “larvae feed mainly on leaves of azalea (Rhododendron spp.) but have also been recorded on apple, blueberry, Red Oak, and Bog Rosemary (Andromeda polifoloa).”  Would it be possible to get a more detailed image and/or information on the plant they were eating?

Correction:  March 18, 2012
Snowbush Spanworms
Thanks to a comment we just received from Nikki that correctly identified these as Snowbush Spanworms, we are able to link to the BugGuide information page on the species that states:  “larvae feed on plants in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae) such as Breynia and Phyllanthus species.”

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