Misc. caterpillars and larvae - group #3
Camouflage Loopers. These tiny caterpillars adorn their bodies with dried flower petals, which they attach with silk. It is an excellent disguise. I would never have noticed these caterpillars if I wasn't looking for them, and if they weren't moving around. Camouflage Loopers turn into beautiful, green Wavy-lined Emerald moths.
A cluster of Walnut Caterpillar moths (Datana integerrima). These caterpillars are gregarious, feeding in large groups to discourage predators. This group was photographed at Buck Creek State Park, near Springfield.
These are also Walnut Caterpillar moths (younger individuals are red instead of black). Photographed at Caesar Creek on July 9, 2016.
Blackberry Looper caterpillar, feeding on a Black-eyed Susan flower. These tiny caterpillars, like the Camouflage Loopers above, turn into small green moths.
This is the larval case of an Evergreen Bagworm moth. The cases are a common sight on tree and shrub branches. Despite their common name, Evergreen Bagworm larvae will attach their cases to a wide variety of plants (not just evergreens). The larva in the photo at left had affixed its case to a tallgrass stem (on the Cox Arboretum prairie).
Many sawfly wasp larvae strongly resemble butterfly and moth caterpillars. The individual at left is a Sphacophilus apios larva. This apparently rare species feeds on Orbexilum onobrychis (commonly known as scurf pea or French-grass). I find many of these larvae in a Greene County remnant prairie, while hunting for Coppery Orbexilum moths. At first, I thought these might be the rare, polka-dot Schinia caterpillars, like the ones that were recently discovered in Adams County, Ohio. No such luck ... but I wonder if the Schinia moth caterpillars might mimic the Sphacophilus apios larvae? Both species are scurf pea specialists. Something to ponder.