Tuesday, April 27, 2010

another mystery caterpillar...



Found yesterday on our wheelbarrow's tire.

biobabbler

P.S. Just went out to tend the chickens and that same creature was on  my black boots, very near the tire. Seems to like black, and to be about a foot off the ground. Had to relocate it to the grasses.

16 comments:

  1. So far the closest thing I've found is:
    Silver-spotted Tiger Moth Caterpillar
    Lophocampa argentata.

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    1. that is exactly what it is

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    2. Woo-hoo! =) Thanks so much!! =)

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  2. I think the tiger moth family is correct, but I'm not sure the species is right. Lo and behold, it looks like Arctiidae has gone by the way side with Homoptera. What is this world coming to???

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  3. Oh, I'm sure you're right. I didn't expect the species to be necc. right on, but the tiger moths looked closer to any others, and the species I named was just the closest via picture that I could find. =) Super unscientific.

    I'm happy just to be in the right area code. =) Thanks for your input--I find it very helpful.

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  4. Actually, L. argentata might be right on. Down low around the bay we have L. sobrina and maculata. It's for sure not maculata, might be sobrina (but it seems rare, and a bay-area thing). Of course, these Arctiinae are difficult to ID from caterpillar, but if it's wandering around you should save it and see if it pupates! L. argentata feeds on pines.

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  5. Ooh, that's super interesting. Maybe I'll check around where I relocated it off my boot today (after making sure no one was IN the boot). What part of the pine tree to they eat (in case I do find it and want to keep it happy). And do they need dirt to drop into for pupating? A stick?

    Thanks so much! =)

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  6. A larger caterpillar will eat any size or age pine needle- but perhaps the younger needles will be preferred. No need for dirt. A nice breezy container is best. After it walks around long enough it'll give up and pupate just about anywhere - spinning a cocoon mixed with the hairs off of its back. Good luck!

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  7. Wow. Great. Thanks SO much. I'll let you know if I find the stylish creature again. =)

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  8. Now, you've got me obsessed looking up caterpillars when I should be doing other things.

    Chris, can you recommend a good caterpillar bulletin or website for CA?

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  9. Well, sad to say there really is nothing. The new book, "Moths of Western North America" is spectacular - but only has a few small plates of caterpillars in the back. If you think it's a butterfly there is "Butterflies of Southern California" - long out of print, and has b/w caterpillar illustrations (not bad though). There is also "Caterpillars of the Pacific Northwest" - beautiful photos and it is FREE. This last one is probably the best bet for CA, but far from perfect.

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  10. Biobabbler, my bad. I don't know what the heck I saw online, but it certainly didn't look like L. argentata - the one I found was mostly white. So, did you find it? (I'm really enjoying your blog, btw!)

    Thanks, Chris. I have a USDA FS Caterpillars of Eastern Forests from 1997, which is fantastic, and have been looking for a western version to no avail.

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  11. =) @Nature ID: So glad you're enjoying it. I was so excited to see I'm up to DOUBLE DIGIT followers. =)

    No worries--I'm all about looking around and trying to figure things out to the degree that I have time, therefore I expect to be inaccurate frequently, but it's all about learning.

    I'm curious re: the degree to which caterpillar colors can vary within species. BTW I've really enjoyed your and Chris' exchanges. Learning lots. =)

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  12. Intraspecies variation can be pretty large - of course it is different for each species. Arctiidae tend to actually be pretty stable in color (Lophocampa maculata can vary quite a bit though). But, they also lose those hairs pretty easily so they can appear to be different. We need a "Caterpillars of Western North America" - if you've seen the east coast book it's spectacular.

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  13. Thanks for the info re: color variation, plus hair loss--didn't know or even think of that. Interesting.

    Yes, caterpillars of western NA would be a WONderful thing to have. I'd buy it!

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  14. bb, want to draw your attention to a whiter version that's supposedly L. argentata near where I live: http://natureid.blogspot.com/2011/03/silver-spotted-tiger-moth-feeding-on.html. Chris thinks mine are L. sobrina. I've e-mailed Jerry Powell with hopes to get another opinion on the ID.

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Cool people write inside rectangles....