Thin Green Inchworm

2014 July 9

So, let’s go straight from the sawflies that we had last time (with more legs than a standard caterpillar) to something with less legs than average – an inchworm. This was on the same mulberry bush as the two green sawflies, and was about the same size (and, in fact, you can see the sawfly larva as a blurry background figure in this next picture).

Inchworms have lost almost all of their prolegs, with just the two pairs of legs at their tail end. They move by “looping”, hunching themselves along, and they can actually move faster this way than can most other caterpillars of similar size.

A lot of inchworms are camouflaged to look like twigs, and when they feel the need to hide they will hold on with their hind legs, elevate their bodies to look like a twig, and hold their head to mimic a leaf bud. This one doesn’t seem to have worked this out, though: the way it holds its body kind of arched doesn’t look very twig-like to me. It actually looks more like a pose for rapidly darting its head off in some random direction. It almost looks like it is contemplating attacking the little barklouse nymph in this next picture.

I couldn’t get a very good picture of its face, partly because of focusing issues and partly because it had a scrap of something unidentifiable in its mouth.

I’m having trouble identifying this one, but not because of the normal reason (too many possibilities). No, in this case the problem is too few possibilities. None of my references have a green inchworm with eight thin white lines running the length of the body. I’ll have to come back to this one later. Anyone have any suggestions as to its identity?

3 Responses
  1. Katbird permalink
    July 10, 2014

    Interesting as always. I’d love to see a photo of the whole bark louse, too.

  2. July 10, 2014

    The bark louse is the one that I posted back on July 2, so you can see better pictures of it here:

  3. July 10, 2014

    Totally off topic: The wasp photo from Grand Cayman was, as usual, encouraged by my wife. “You should take a picture of that for Tim!”

    The entire Catican Compound staff is looking out for you. 🙂

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