caterpillar question

dirtgirl(So. Illinois)August 29, 2005

Ok, help me narrow the field...I know there are some devoted lepidopterists among the masses here...

Got a mess of cats in the soybean field, not so many to be a threat to productivity, but being the nature freak that I am, I just wonder what they are and what the end result looks like.

Here's what I do know:

Emerge from canopy at dusk to feed on tops of growth.

Lime green, hairless or close to it-- couldn't make out any readily apparent markings such as striping or stippling

Most noticeable trait is a VERY large head, seems out of proportion to rest of cat's body, with a pronounced "neck".

Head is coffee brown, with different colored mandibles/eyes.

(Wish I had had better light to see with.)

average length is app. 1 1/2 inches to 2

THat will have to do until I can get another look.

Any suggestions?

I should be happy that these aren't the same stinging-haired little devils that I unwittingly got into a few years back while cutting weeds. Just like I fell into a patch of nettle or fiberglass while sweaty!

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hang on for a few more weeks, then check amazon. i have a pre-publication copy of a new field guide to caterpillars of the eastern us (NOT the peterson's). it's great!!! proves god had a sense of humor, these things are so crazy looking.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2005 at 1:31PM
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garden4wildlife(z8 GA)

You might have better luck asking this on the butterfly garden forum. There are some *extremely* devoted lepidopterists there and I'm sure they can tell you what the cats are to within the genus, if not the actual species.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2005 at 5:41PM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

Thanks, everyone!
Elke, that's my big gripe with the Audubon Insects and Siders publication....way too deficient when it comes to cats. A good basic primer, but not too detailed.
I will have to post this over there for the butterfly lovers...

    Bookmark   August 30, 2005 at 1:23PM
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According to the Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society these caterpillars use soybean as a host.

Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice)
Southern Dogface (Zerene cesonia)
Long-Tailed Skipper (Urbanus proteus)

    Bookmark   August 30, 2005 at 6:58PM
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Is this the new guide to which you refer, elke?

Here is a link that might be useful: Amazon

    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 9:31AM
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Butterflyer1966(z7 , AL)

Hi everyone
sounds like the Long Tailed Skipper to me..
They are very cute caterpillars, green and their heads9brown with big eyes) are kinda sep. from the rest of the body(hope that makes sense)
They also come out to feed mostly at nighttime and are living at daytime in a nest rolled from leafes..
Hope that helps..

    Bookmark   September 1, 2005 at 11:03PM
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yes, esh ga -- that would be the one. my only gripe is that they don't show the crysallis...but maybe that's another book.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2005 at 10:11AM
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