Caterpillar ID help

bob_71(z7 MD)August 15, 2010

I found this one on a Wild Senna plant (Cassia hebecarpa) eating just on the bloom heads. I saw him first on the 11th and again on the 12th and then we had some heavy thunderstorms. Haven't been able to locate him since. Is there enough to make an ID or are all photos and observations too little and too early?

Thanks, Bob

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Is it tiny? It looks like a Lycaenidae caterpillar. Perhaps a summer azure (Celastrina neglecta)? They lay eggs on a variety of flower buds and eat the flowers. However, I cannot find any pictures of one to confirm.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 1:02PM
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heykid(8, San Antonio)

Well we don't hardly get them those far south but I was reviewing cats in my butter fly book and I believe the one you have pictured there is one called the "Common Blue" way north of my region. But I could be wrong...

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 10:00PM
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From the pictures in my book, I was guessing Common Blue also. Size would help to determine id.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 7:22AM
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Which blue do you mean? I don't have my butterfly books in front of me and am not aware of a common blue other than Polyommatus icarus, which is a European species.

Another guess would be a gray hairstreak, Stymon melinus. Here is what Wagner's "Caterpillars of Eastern North America" Says;

"Often green with oblique dark reen line above each spiracle"

"Pale subspiracular stripe runs from T3-A7"

"Setae over dorsum rather long for a lycaenid, nearly half as long as a segment that bears them. Setae from subdorsal selling often with minute dark bases."

Also the Eastern Tailed blue, Everes comyntas;

"Integument with conspicuous peppering of small white (or sometimes black)star shaped setae (best viewed with lens). Usually with darkened middorsal line and prominent subspiracular stripe"

"Setae prominent, longest hairs about one-third length of segment that bears them. Larva scarecly exceeding 1 cm." Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus) caterpillars lack the star-shaped setae."

My guess is gray hairstreak, but whatever s/he is, s/he is cute!


    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 8:03AM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Could it possibly be the Eastern Tailed Blue?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 8:11AM
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jrcagle(z7 MD)

I second Elisabeth: Lycaenid of some sort, and the host plant and location narrow it down to either Gray Hairstreak or Eastern Tailed Blue. The Summer Azure eats a lot of different things, but I don't thing legumes are among them.

Here's a promising caterpillar gallery:

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 9:45AM
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runmede(7a Virginia)

I think it is probably a Gray Hairstreak. What's great about this CD-ROM (Butterflies of North America...Scott) is that it has pictures of eggs, cats, and adults, plus natural history info. Gray Hairstreaks use Cassia (Senna). But, there's always a new butterfly host plant that's not cataloged.

Here is a link that might be useful: Species Strymon melinus - Gray Hairstreak (Caterpillar Pictures from the Bug Guide)

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 1:18PM
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This is a hairstreak larva. Because of the time of year and fabaceous host, it must be Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus).


PS - Lovely shots by the way.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 11:31PM
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