Yellow Caterpillar??

fl-micheleJune 14, 2008


My names Michele and I posted some last season. I don't know how to upload pictures to this site. I found an interesting yellow,fuzzy-hairy caterpillar. It was first spotted on my butterfly bush, then my red passion vine and now on a flower- I'm not familar with it's name. (My husband got it for me.)

I'm not quit sure what it is. I'm still a beginner with my butterfly garden so I thought I'd turn to the experts for some help.

I also wanted to know if little black ants are harmful to my plants? I don't have many cats yet but I was wondering if it's because of the ants. We have a lot of lizards too!

Hope you can help.



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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Little black ants are all over my plants, too, Michele, and they don't hurt anything, except I think they sometimes carry away sulphur eggs off my Christmas cassias. The sleepy oranges and little yellows are the only ones laying eggs on the cassias so far this year, and the adults are VERY plentiful, so I assume the ants aren't doing too much damage.
Lizards have never eaten my caterpillars, just the numerous hard bodied insects that live here. People who live in suburbs, without all the bug abundance I have here in the country/woods sometimes report that lizards eat their cats, though, so maybe you should watch them.
There are many fuzzy, hairy caterpillars, but yours is most like a yellow bear or a salt marsh moth caterpillar. I've raised quite a few salt marsh moth cats myself - they're common, and occur on many sites besides a salt marsh. They eat just about anything - every time I find one, it's on a different plant. Their coloring is quite variable, and will change a lot during the larval stage of any one caterpillar. I liked this picture of a SMM cat, because you could get a good look at its strange "face"! This one was eating passiflora biflora -


    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 3:39PM
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You missed your calling Sherry. You ought to be a professional photog specializing in lepidoptera girl.

Agree - probably a Spilosoma virginica larva as they are so common in varied habitats, and as Sherry said will eat just about anything.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 4:47PM
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Miss Sherry,
What an incredible picture, I beleive the other poster was right, you should be a professionsl photographer! Among the other qualities you have!
You are a God send around here, A personal thanks!!!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 8:45AM
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THANK YOU!! I'm pretty sure that's it. I couldn't find it yesterday again. I'm sure it's on one of my plants. The photo is great! I knew you would know even without the picture. I will keep a look out for the lizards. We do have alot of bugs and spiders so I hope they're not eating my cats!!
Thanks again,

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 9:00AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Thanks Michele, Janelle and Larry - sounds like a law firm :) - for the kind words. I think you're right, I should have been some sort of scientist. When I worked in medical records, my favorite records were the ones from the lab - I especially liked path(ology) reports.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 9:15AM
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