Little caterpillar with reddish-brown spots

2016 December 14

We found this caterpillar on June 20, 2016. It is a relatively small caterpillar – if you compare it to the spacing of my fingerprints, it looks to be less than an inch long.


I don’t remember exactly how we found it, but it wasn’t on its food plant, so we didn’t know what to feed it well enough to try raising it. Although, even if we did, it might not have worked out – if you look about 2/3 of the way down its body, you can see a dark patch:


When we’ve seen discolorations like that before, it usually meant that the caterpillar was carrying a parasitoid, and was not going to survive to grow up in any case.


So, any identification will have to be entirely based on what the caterpillar looks like. Which is a long shot, because there are a lot of kinds of tiny moths/butterflies, and an insufficient number of them have been photographed. I did post it to BugGuide, and I might be lucky enough for someone to be able to identify it, but I’m not holding my breath.


I suspect it is either one of the Pyralids/Crambids, or one of the Twirlers (Gelechioidea), but that’s mainly based on both of those being very large families of very small moths that have generally not been well-photographed. This is probably one that, if we ever see one again, it will have to be raised up in order to get anywhere on the ID.

One Response
  1. December 21, 2016

    A parasitoid? Eww!

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