I can's find the name of this caterpillar anywhere? I assume it is rare? I would also like to know what butterfly or moth does this turn into? Please help me.
I can't see the head but based on body markings, I would say that it is the Dogbane Saucrobotys Moth. Not alot of info on them tho.
Here is a link that might be useful: Dogbane Saucrobotys Moth
Looks more like a sawfly larvae, to me....though not sure which one. It would be simple to ID if we could see the head capsule and the prolegs.
Here is a link that might be useful: Compare with your larvae.
Since you live in South Africa, I'm afraid we won't have much info for you here. Our primary focus is on lepidoptera of the U.S.
I did a quick search and did find a website with images of South African leps, and have attached the link for you.
Good luck, and be sure to post the ID if you find one.
Here is a link that might be useful: South African Lepidoptera
Note that when identifying many caterpillars and adult moths, the pattern is much more important than the colors.
The pattern of the above larva matches the sawfly rather than the moth cat.
That they were both orange with black dots was a coincidence.
Thankyou for your post. Actually this caterpillar I found in Namibia not in South Africa.
larry_gene, that what I thought too, I was trying to ID it by the markings, I was not sure if the coloring was a trick of the light or not. I looked at the sawfly larva also and I agree that it looks alot like it.
I think I found it! Its not a sawfly. We don't really get sawfly's in Southern Africa, very rare.
Caterpillars on Prickly Pear Cactus - Cactoblastis cactorum
Must bet this, it has the same markings and same colours. Some are brighter than others.I guess it depends what type of cactus they feeding off. You get the Green Prickly Pear cactus and the Red prickly Pear Cactus. It would make sense because Namibia is partly dessert and grows a lot of wild cactus plants. I saw you get them in Florida and Texas too.
I am just waiting for a confirmation on this. But I am 99% sure its correct.
Here is a link that might be useful: Bug Guide Net
Very interesting. We learn so much here. If we see this in the US. It is imperative to isolate it and contact either the USDA or the state pest control program.
If you go up the hierachy on the list, to the moth family (cactus borers) on bugguide, and click on "Cactus Borers", it has interesting info on this bug. It native of S. America and was introduced in Australia. It has now been seen in the US. It has the potential to wipe out native cactus species. It is a big one on the USDA's hit list. It looks like they are trying to set up monitoring programs in key states like Mississippi (So, Miss Sherry, be on the lookout!).
It was introduced into S. Africa to deal with invasive cactus species with some success. For more info;
Again, thanks for sharing. It helps us learn and keep up with what is happening in the Lep world.
Now you have matched a locale, color, and pattern, good job.
Its amazing, I've read both articles and its very interesting. But now I wonder if this caterpillar is also a pest in Namibia because the cactus here are also native as its part of the country. I am going to try my best to find out. But Namibia has very little resources.
Thankyou for your information. :)
Uh oh! We sure don't need another invasive pest here!
The only cactus that grows here is Opuntia humifusa/prickly pear cactus. There are large stands of it on sand bars on the side of the Pascagoula River, so I imagine it also grows on sand bars on the tributary rivers, the Leaf and the Chickasawhay. I was surprised to see them growing in a spot that must be wet, despite being pure sand. I saw them when they were in bloom, and they were a sight to behold - beautiful!
Well, since they are not native to Africa, I would assume if it is eating native cactii, that it is a pest. I would contact the author of the second link (H.G. Zimmerman, Plant Protection Research Institute, Private Bag X 134, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa, E-mail: email@example.com)and show him your photos and document the cactus species. See what they have to say about it. They might be able to put you in contact with someone in Namibia.
Miss Sherry, you will just have an excuse to visit the cactus more. Tell your family you are monitoring for invasive pests :).
Good luck Tarynw. Let us know how it goes.
Are cactus pads and fruits sold in Namibian markets? Where there is money value to crops, control programs for the moth are more likely to occur.