Clear Dagger Moth Caterpillar

Subject: Orange Cat
Location: Andover, NJ – backyard
September 24, 2013 7:33 am
I’m totally stumped by this one and hope you can help. It is a distinctive orange color with some yellow spots just above the face. The face is black/white and the tail has a point. It has some fine hairs, but is mostly hairless. It was making its way across a pavered walkway in our garden, apparently heading for the mulched area? Length, approximately one inch.
Signature: Deborah Bifulco

Unknown Moth Caterpillar
Clear Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Hi Deborah,
Other than figuring that this is a Moth Caterpillar, we haven’t a clue either.  We will post your photos and we hope someone will write in with a closer identification.  We cannot even provide a family at this time.

Unknown Moth Caterpillar
Clear Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Thanks for getting back to me,  Daniel.  I’ve also sent the photos to several local naturalists and so far ,  no one can identify it.  Quite a mystery.  I will drop you a note if I learn anything.

Update:  September 25, 2013
Thanks to a comment from one of our readers, we now know that this is a Clear Owlet Moth Caterpillar, Acronicta clarescens.  There are matching photos on BugGuide.

Hi again,
Just wanted to let you know that I found a local naturalist who identified this as a Clear Dagger Moth caterpillar (Acronicta clarescens).  Mystery solved…


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BugMan aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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