Need Caterpillar ID

bob_71(z7 MD)July 2, 2011

Found this one just barely alive under a mature oak tree.



View of the bottomside

View of the topside

Showing relative size to lens cover. About as large as a tomato hornworm.

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

It's a luna moth, Bob. Hopefully, it just needs to find a place to make its cocoon.
Have you tried putting it back on the tree?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 2:02PM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

If it cannot move, put it in a smooth bottom container. If it has no health/parasite issues, it will pupate without its flimsy cocoon.

ID trick I tell people is green face=luna, brown face=poly


    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 3:24PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Are those parasitic cocoons near the head of the cat?
'Hope they aren't!
I just look for the yellow line, KC - yellow line, luna - no yellow line, poly.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 3:41PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Those look like tachinid fly eggs, to me. The adult glues the little eggs to the outside of the host caterpillar, often close to the head capsule, I think. Anyhow, when the eggs hatch, the larvae will chew its way to the innards of the host.

Tachinids don't make little cocoons when they are ready to pupate.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 5:33PM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

But my way is clearly better. ;D

All my lunas are 5th instar right now. I wanted to refresh my memory on what a 2nd instar looks like. I did a Google images on "luna moth caterpillar." Quite a few of the "luna" cats don't seem to have a stripe down their side or a green face. Must be some local variations ;)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 7:24PM
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