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Great Leopard Moth Larva

Hypercompe scribonia

Notes:

This species has a wingspan of 3 inches (nearly 8 cm). The wings of this moth are bright white with a pattern of neat black blotches, some solid and some hollow. The abdomen is dark blue with orange markings, the male has a narrow yellow line on the sides. Its legs have black and white bands. Adult moths are strictly nocturnal and do not generally fly before nightfall (Fullard & Napoleone 2001). The caterpillar is of the "Woolly Bear" kind, with a thick coat of black bristles (setae) and red or orange colored bands between its segments which become conspicuous when caterpillar rolls into a ball for defense. - wiki

19 Comments

Nina C. Wilde
Nina C. Wilde 9 years ago

WOOT WOOT! Glad you got an ID, and can't help but be a little happy that I guessed correctly. I'm not always right, but it feels nice when it happens!

barbarossa
barbarossa 9 years ago

Following up on all this discussion, I got word back from BAMONA... according to them, Nina C. Wilde and jgorneau were right to start with, they have identified it as Hypercompe scribonia.

http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/sight...

Nina C. Wilde
Nina C. Wilde 9 years ago

I went through my book on owlet caterpillars (Wagner, Schweitzer, Sullivan & Reardon) to see if there were any heavily warted specimens resembling yours--and there are quite a few ex: Family Nolidae. Still haven't found a match. Hope someone does so I can learn a new item!

barbarossa
barbarossa 9 years ago

I've submitted the sighting to BAMONA, we'll see what they say...

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 9 years ago

I just spent 40 mins in the caterpillar section. I cannot find anything similar in Grammia, perhaps Virbia, but I can't find any there either. I would submit to BugGuide.net, or butterfliesandmoths.org.

bayucca
bayucca 9 years ago

I am not very happy with neither Hypercompe and Estigmene. Hypercompe scribonia should have a red band not just these spots. Estigmene should not have spots/warts on the dorsal surface. But I am not sure about the genus either. My closest guess would be some kind of a Grammia sp., also an Arctiidae.

barbarossa
barbarossa 9 years ago

Sorry I've been absent for most of this discussion, it's our busy season at work. I uploaded a few more photos, although I don't think they showcase anything new. I'm still undecided on the species. It was in an open meadow (old ag fields), and as you can tell from the map pretty far inland.

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 9 years ago

Notice how it also has other patterns other than the black and red/orange markings, though. Hypercompe scribonia is only black with these red/orange markings, or bands. Can you explain this to me? I will watch the vid again.

annorion
annorion 9 years ago

Double checked the video watch from 1:14 until about 1:30

annorion
annorion 9 years ago

Yep! That's what I'm talking about

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 9 years ago

Is this what you were talking about, Salt Marsh-wise? http://www.whatsthatbug.com/wp-content/u...

annorion
annorion 9 years ago

Here are a few more links I just found with pics for comparison. It looks like as the caterpillar matures it gains more of the orange hairs and yellowing in the body which is what most other pics show.
http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?searc...
http://bugguide.net/node/view/282243
http://msinger.faculty.wesleyan.edu/evol...
http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/717...

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 9 years ago

I did not see the stage you were talking about in 1:14. It was only a close-up of the head. I really think it comes down to what kind of habitat is was found in.

annorion
annorion 9 years ago

The only "picture" I was able to find of this particular stage of Salt Marsh was the video in my first comment.

annorion
annorion 9 years ago

The Leopard Moth caterpillar has bands of orange where there is no hair. The Salt Marsh Moth caterpillar has orange where it has hair. The orange on this caterpillar is not on the bands in between the hairs but on the bands with hair.

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 9 years ago

Just to be sure, where was this found?

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 9 years ago

I agree with Nina. I have suggested an ID based upon her findings.

Nina C. Wilde
Nina C. Wilde 9 years ago

I am more inclined to say Giant Leopard Moth caterpillar- Hypercompe scribonia (p. 467 in Wagner's Caterpillars of Eastern North America).
http://bugguide.net/node/view/493

annorion
annorion 9 years ago

check out this video too...at 1:14...same stage as above molting into next stage. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQFd-ftM6...

barbarossa
Spotted by
barbarossa

Virginia, USA

Spotted on May 18, 2012
Submitted on May 30, 2012

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