Tag: caterpillar (Page 2 of 5)

Bug of the Week: Caterpillar on Mexican Hat

Our bug this week is a tiny caterpillar.

At first it looked like a bit of debris on the top of a Mexican hat flower.

Upon closer examination, it is a tiny looper caterpillar, Family Geometridae.

I was hoping to learn more, but it disappeared shortly afterwards.

The world can be a harsh place for a tiny caterpillar.

Bug of the Week: Life Cycle of a Moth

It is easy to find photographs of butterfly life cycles because butterflies are bright, colorful and active during the day. People like them.

Moths, on the other hand, are commonly drab, secretive and fly mostly at night, so not as much is available.

This is what the typical adult moth looks like.

Some moths can be quite colorful, however, so color is not the only factor to consider. Another feature of moths is that their bodies are often thicker than that of butterflies, and the thorax area in particular may be covered with hair-like scales (illustration from Wikimedia). Therefore, moths look fuzzy.

The adult moths lay eggs. The size and shape will depend on the species of moth. These are silkworm eggs.

The yellow eggs on the leaf above were laid by an Io moth, Automeris io (Photograph by Gary Foster at Wikimedia).

The eggs hatch into larvae, commonly called caterpillars.

The caterpillar shown here is a type of cutworm. Moth larvae are essentially just like butterfly larvae.

Moth pupae, however, are quite different from butterfly pupae. Often moth larvae construct a bag made of silk, called a cocoon, and then pupate inside it. The pupa itself is plain reddish-brown.

Other moth larvae excavate underground chambers and pupate in the soil.

Butterfly pupae, in contrast, are called chrysalids and sometimes form colorful and elaborate shapes. They are often found attached to plants.

For another view of a moth life cycle, try this post about silkworms.

Although moths are often ignored, they are on the order of ten times more numerous than butterflies. That means that for every butterfly you see flitting about your yard, there may be ten species of moths hidden away. Something to think about…

Bug of the Week: Snapdragon Caterpillar

Since we featured the snapdragon flower for Seed of the Week yesterday, let’s take a look at an insect that enjoys snapdragons, too.

I found this one while photographing the plant.

A green caterpillar with red dots is certainly colorful.

Does anyone know what kind of caterpillar this is?

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