Currently viewing the category: "Prominent Moth Caterpillars"

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Northeast Alabama,USA
Date: 09/13/2021
Time: 09:43 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Several eating rhododendron leaves
How you want your letter signed:  Duck

Azalea Caterpillar

Dear Duck,
This distinctive caterpillar is an Azalea Caterpillar,
Datana major, and according to BugGuide:  ” As the larva matures it becomes highly colored. Mature larvae are predominately black with a red last segment and eight broken yellow (occasionally white) lengthwise stripes. The head and legs are bright red.”

Subject:  Caterpillar identification
Geographic location of the bug:  northern Ontario, Canada
Date: 08/08/2021
Time: 08:47 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please help me to identify this little guy. I saved him from my kitty, and well certain death. Please help?
How you want your letter signed:  Ms. Tara Lilian

Red Humped Caterpillar

Dear Ms. Tara Lilian,
This is a Red Humped Caterpillar,
Schizura concinna, and according to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on a wide range of woody plants, from many different families.”

Subject:  Unidentifiable CaterpillarS
Geographic location of the bug:  Roseville, CA
Date: 11/12/2019
Time: 06:41 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can you tell me what this is?  They denuded my redbud tree. How can I prevent them from returning. Organic pesticides had no effect whatsoever. Thank you.
How you want your letter signed:  Sharon

Red-Humped Caterpillar

Dear Sharon,
This is a Red-Humped Caterpillar,
Schizura concinna, which you can find pictured on BugGuide.  According to the University of California Integrated Pest Management site:  “Young caterpillars commonly feed side-by-side in groups, chewing on the lower leaf surface. As the larvae grow, they tend to disperse and feed in smaller groups or individually. Skeletonized leaves are a common result, as the older caterpillars chew all the way through and consume leaves, leaving only the larger, tough veins. … When their abundance is low, larvae eat leaves on only a few branch terminals. Occasionally, heavy infestations develop and defoliate entire trees during the summer. Usually only scattered individual and young trees are severely defoliated. If severely defoliated, trees that are otherwise healthy usually recover.”

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for the quick response and valuable information about the Red-Humped Caterpillars.  They are scary-looking. I hope my redbud tree will recover. Thanks again!

Subject:  What’s this caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Tallahassee, FL
Date: 08/04/2019
Time: 02:26 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can you please ID this caterpillar?  There are tons of them under my life oak.  They’re eating my shrubs.
How you want your letter signed:  Thank you in advance, Michael

Azalea Caterpillars

Dear Michael,
The arched posture these Caterpillars have assumed is typical of Prominent Caterpillers in the genus
Datana, and we are pretty confident they are Azalea Caterpillars, Datana major, based on this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide:  “larvae feed mainly on leaves of azalea (Rhododendron spp.) but have also been recorded on apple, blueberry, Red Oak, and Bog Rosemary (Andromeda polifoloa).”  Are your shrubs azaleas?

Azalea Caterpillars

Not azalea,  not certain what they are but evergreen somewhat waxy foliage.  Thanks for your time on this

Subject:  Green caterpillar with reddish/brown markings along the back
Geographic location of the bug:  Benzie Michigan
Date: 08/02/2019
Time: 07:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Is this a harmless caterpillar or one that can kill trees?
I looked at 100s of green caterpillar photos to identify it and none look like this one
I’ve been having some tree problems and he was found in the area but I’m thinking not the culprit.  Maybe, maybe not.  Trying to decide if I should relocate him, as the gypsy moth virus/fungus is helping remove those caterpillars and it might be contagious
How you want your letter signed:  C

Linden Prominent Caterpillar

Dear C,
For the most part, native caterpillars are rarely a threat to native plants.  Introduced species like the Gypsy Moth have no natural enemies when they are introduced, which is why exotic imported species often threaten sensitive ecosystems.  We do not recognize your striking Caterpillar, and our initial internet investigation did not produce anything worth citing, so we are posting it as Unidentified and we are hoping our readers help us identify what we suspect is a Noctuoid Caterpillar.

Update:  Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash, we are confident this is a Linden Prominent Moth Caterpillar, Ellida caniplaga, which is pictured on BugGuideBugGuide notes “The larvae feed on the leaves of basswood (=linden)” and “The larvae are rarely seen (for many years the description of the caterpillar was not known) because they usually feed high in the canopy of basswood trees; they are most likely to be observed descending the trunk of the tree enroute to their pupation site in the soil.”

Thanks so much.  I do have a very tall linden tree nearby and this bug must’ve dropped from the top onto my deck.    Never seen one like it before

Subject:  Caterpillars eating apple trees
Geographic location of the bug:  Hershey Pennsylvania
Date: 07/20/2019
Time: 03:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found these eating my apple tree leaves. What are they?
How you want your letter signed:  Sue

Yellow Necked Caterpillars feed on apple trees

Dear Sue,
We immediately recognized these as Prominent Moth Caterpillars in the genus
Datana, but since we cannot currently access BugGuide for species identifications, we searched the genus name and apple tree and we found the Yellow Necked Caterpillar, Datana ministra, pictured on Discover Life where it states:  “Yellow-necked Caterpillars clustered in a defensive group. When disturbed they flare up suddenly together, rearing their front and hind legs in a menacing ball to help ward off potential enemies. The larvae feed on shade trees in the genera Quercus (oaks), Betula (birches), Salix (willows), and Malus (apple trees and shrubs in the rose family, Rosaceae). Young ones skeletonise leaves; older ones eat whole leaves, except the stems. Once the larvae are fully grown at about 50mm, they drop to the ground and pupate in the soil, emerging as adults the following year. This species, Datana ministra, is in the moth family Notodontidae. Adults are difficult to identify from some other species in the same genus. The species ranges over much of the United States and Canada. While in some areas they are considered pests, they’re a joy to find, watch, and then poke gently with a twig. Boo!”