Tiny Yellow Caterpillar

2022 December 18

I found this on Sandy’s shoulder after we came back from a walk in the woods on July 30, 2022. This picture was taken with it on a paper towel, and it is just a bit longer than the width of a dimple that is usually on a paper towel surface (making it just about 1/4 inch long). This is pretty tiny for a caterpillar, and I expect it had just hatched a short time previously.

And do I know what kind of caterpillar this is? No, I do not. I am pretty sure it is a moth or butterfly caterpillar, though, and not a sawfly, because it has the normal number of legs for a moth or butterfly (sawflies have more legs than this).

It basically has one distinguishing feature – it is yellow. I guess it also has a kind of hardened, darkened shield behind its head, which is a common trait in caterpillars in the family Tortricidae, but that’s more of a wild guess than anything else.

The big issue is (a) it is apparently fairly common for caterpillars to be a different color as hatchlings than they are when they get bigger, and (b) most people don’t take pictures of hatchling caterpillars like this. So, searching for “tiny yellow caterpillar” and variations thereof is getting me nowhere.

We didn’t raise this one to adulthood, because we had no idea what it was going to eat and so the odds didn’t look good. So, I suppose the only way we will ever find out what this was, is if someday we find more of them on their foodplant so that they can be cultivated.

It is kind of cute, though, in a wormy, canary-yellow sort of way.

2 Responses
  1. December 23, 2022

    The poor thing! I want to pick him up and take him somewhere warm.

  2. Blah blah permalink
    June 7, 2023

    Fall webworm they turn into those little white moths

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