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Cucullia Caterpillars

Cucullia

Description:

Spotted these four Cucullia caterpillars while walking in Aquatic Park in Berkeley, CA. There were two large and two small caterpillars. I could not figure out what species they are. They were feeding on a plant that looked like a type of dandelion. Any help with an ID on the specific Cucullia species would be great.

Habitat:

Aquatic Park in Berkeley, CA.


1 Species ID Suggestions

Cucullia
Cucullia sp. Cucullia


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20 Comments

maplemoth662
maplemoth662 a year ago

Beautiful caterpillars....

misako
misako 7 years ago

Great! Thank you bayucca.

bayucca
bayucca 7 years ago

Cucullia is confirmed by Bob Poole from nearctica.com:
http://www.nearctica.com/
Closer he couldn't get neither, the Western Cucullia are obviously still not very well known.

misako
misako 7 years ago

I agree bayucca, I could not find many photos online.

misako
misako 7 years ago

Will do--thanks for letting me know.

bayucca
bayucca 7 years ago

I have seen this moths, but all unidentified. There are anyway not very much pictures of Cucullia sp. caterpillars around.

oxyjack
oxyjack 7 years ago

If you find any, be sure to collect some of the plant it's on too. Many lep larvae have host preferences, and it may be necessary to ID the plant so that the caterpillars will be fed properly during the rearing process.

oxyjack
oxyjack 7 years ago

Great, hope you find more! I'm curious about the defensive coloration. That seems unusual for a noctuid moth.

misako
misako 7 years ago

Awesome. If I find more of these caterpillars this year, I will try to collect then and contact you.

oxyjack
oxyjack 7 years ago

Yes, he lives in the Berkeley/Albany area. He and Paul Opler recently put out a book on the Moths of Western North America (huge hard-backed book). He is an emeritus professor of entomology at UC Berkeley, and still very active in moth taxonomic research.

misako
misako 7 years ago

That is great to know oxyjack. Is Mr. Powell local to the Bay Area?

oxyjack
oxyjack 7 years ago

Too bad this was taken so long ago! I asked Jerry Powell, an expert on the moths of Western North America, and he said it could be any one of 3 or 4 different species that occur in Ca. He says he'd be happy to try to rear them to adults in order to make a positive ID, but I'm sure the ones you photographed became adults a while ago. BTW, Jerry is responsible for the moth data on the Essig website cited above.

misako
misako 8 years ago

Thank you @textless! I am always excited to spot butterflies and caterpillars. Aquatic Park in Berkeley, CA has proven to be a perfect location for spottings.

misako
misako 8 years ago

Thank you for the information Kristin! It does look remarkably similar to the Cucullia speyeri photos you sent me. I will do some more investigating.

textless
textless 8 years ago

Great photo set!

KristenGilpin
KristenGilpin 8 years ago

I think it is in the Cucullia genus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucullia

These larva look very similar to the larva of Speyer's Cucullia (cucullia speyeri) but I do not believe they range south into California. Check out this photo of a Speyer's: http://www.flickr.com/photos/10367239@N0...

There are a number of species that have been reported in California: http://essigdb.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/calm...

Sorry I can't be of more help.

misako
misako 8 years ago

I thought is might be a monarch too, but these have a yellow stripe near the feet along the entire body.

Ronald and Amissa
Ronald and Amissa 8 years ago

The colors resemble a Monarch caterpillar but i'm pretty sure it's not that.

misako
misako 8 years ago

Thank you Ronald and Amissa. Any idea what species they are? I have had no luck searching online.

Ronald and Amissa
Ronald and Amissa 8 years ago

Thats a great caterpillar!

misako
Spotted by
misako

Berkeley, California, USA

Lat: 37.85, Long: -122.30

Spotted on Sep 12, 2011
Submitted on Sep 14, 2011

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Reference