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Old July 27th, 2011, 10:05 PM
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Caterpillar pic for bendyfoot

Here ya go, bendyfoot--I have some others, but they're all pretty much the same. Dad-burn things wouldn't uncoil. I did see one unfurled and it was maybe an inch-and-a-quarter or an inch-and-a-half long... When they're curled like that the circle is about an inch in diameter. The eye interpreted the dark as black but the camera seems to have seen a very dark blue.

There are three of them hanging out on the same plant in the middle of what's basically a grassy field.

Notice the double dorsal stripe...and that smooth-domed, Einstein brow! Must be a real genius with that egg-head, eh?

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Old July 28th, 2011, 08:27 AM
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It's a sawfly! Not a real catterpillar at all, but a wasp larva! The shape of the head and the teeny eye are a pretty good indicator. You also said you found several? They tend to congregate in largeish numbers, sometimes putting on a pretty interesting "threat" display together if they're disturbed.

Knowing their host plant (what they were eating) would help narrow down the species a bit, but a quick search makes me wonder if it's the Elm Sawfly: http://bugguide.net/node/view/171762

Cool critter!
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Old July 28th, 2011, 09:17 AM
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I thought it was extremely cool, and kinda pretty... until I read Bendyfoots post saying it was a Larva
Now my skin is crawling!
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Old July 28th, 2011, 10:48 AM
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LOL, "caterpillar" is just a fancy word for "larva"...it's basically the same thing!
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Old July 28th, 2011, 01:31 PM
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Wow, that must be one honkin' big sawfly! We used to get larch sawflies on our cascading tamarack but they were teeny.

There were three larvae though I only could find one this morning when I went out to get pics of the plant they were on. It's not a flowering plant so it's not in my book and I have no idea what it is, but maybe you can ID it:

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Name:  Sawfly larvae plant 2.jpg
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It's pretty chewed up--lots of the leaves are missing. It looks like some sort of willow, maybe? But I don't know for sure...

So if these are elm sawflies, what do they rely on now that the elms are gone?

Thanks for the help, bendy!
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Old July 28th, 2011, 01:55 PM
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From what I read, the elm sawfly is one of the biggest in North America! The larvae get up to 2" long so yep, it's a doozy! They have a lot of hosts other than elm ("hosts include elm (Ulmus), maple (Acer), birch (Betula), willow (Salix), and basswood (Tilia); adults girdle bark on twigs"). My first thought when I saw your plant was that it was a little willow sapling, is that possible? I'm terrible at trees, lol! Sounds like they're really generalist though so they could be eating almost anything... funny that you mentioned that they wouldn't uncurl: "While feeding, the larvae usually coil their posterior around a leaf or twig. At rest the larvae roll into a characteristic tight coil." Good observations!
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Old July 28th, 2011, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bendyfoot View Post
LOL, "caterpillar" is just a fancy word for "larva"...it's basically the same thing!
There's just something about a cute, fuzzy caterpillar that makes it being a larva less icky lol. I thought this one was cool because it was "bald" and still colorful. But as soon as I saw the word larva, I just pictured maggots and my skin started to crawl!
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Old July 28th, 2011, 02:02 PM
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LOL, yeah, maggots are larvae too
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Old July 28th, 2011, 02:02 PM
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It did look like some sort of willow, but I don't recall seeing a lot of them around here. The oaks, maple and birch pretty much dominate, but I suspect there are a lot of willow species in the understory that I just don't know how to ID and probably some along the wetland just to the south of our property. If the sawfly larvae eat maple and birch, they should be happy. And well-fed.

Any idea if they're harmful?

Thx for the help, bendy!
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Old July 28th, 2011, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Rgeurts View Post
There's just something about a cute, fuzzy caterpillar that makes it being a larva less icky lol. I thought this one was cool because it was "bald" and still colorful. But as soon as I saw the word larva, I just pictured maggots and my skin started to crawl!
Ya, I hear ya, Robyn...I wuz hopin' fer a purrrdy butterfly and all I got was a sawfly.

Oh, but I did see a monarch fem laying eggs on the milkweed plants in the hummingbird garden this morning!
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Old July 28th, 2011, 02:15 PM
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Ya, I hear ya, Robyn...I wuz hopin' fer a purrrdy butterfly and all I got was a sawfly.

I think I would be feeling a bit "gipped" by that too!!

Oh, but I did see a monarch fem laying eggs on the milkweed plants in the hummingbird garden this morning!
Nice!!! I Love Monarchs, but unfortunately, it's been such a wet/cold summer that I have yet to see any butterflies at all
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Old July 28th, 2011, 02:37 PM
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Had lots of butterflies this morning--monarchs, viceroys, swallowtails and white admirals. Oh, and a whole bunch of clear-wing sphinx moths. Very pretty! Much prettier than adult sawflies!
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Old July 28th, 2011, 02:45 PM
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LOL... I'm sure!!
The only thing we have had that I really enjoy are the frogs. They have actually lasted a lot longer this year (even with the monsters in our neighborhood that play frog baseball ). We have a little pond behind the house and it's loaded with frogs, ducks, geese and muskrats

Though I would still love to see some Butterflies!!
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Old July 28th, 2011, 04:07 PM
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There's just something about a cute, fuzzy caterpillar that makes it being a larva less icky lol.
Unless it just so happens to be a tent caterpillar:



That'll up the ick factor considerably!
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Old July 28th, 2011, 05:45 PM
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Lotsa poop in that thar tent, scm!

The tent caterpillars have been thriving as well--but the cuckoos come and eat them and the warblers steal the silk for their nests.
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Old July 28th, 2011, 07:36 PM
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Unless it just so happens to be a tent caterpillar


That'll up the ick factor considerably!


Ok SCM, you really made me regret checking this thread again!! I think I need to stay out of it
That really grossed me out! I have never seen those before (thank goodness!!). I seriously am not a "bug" girl!
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Old July 28th, 2011, 09:31 PM
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OH Rgeurts!!! You crack me up! I am so 110% with you.

At first glance of the first picture I thought, AHHH, what a beautiful creamy Caterpillar with blue spots but the more I read and saw SCM's tent caterpillars, I'm losing on the subject too.

Maybe someone could produce a picture of a caterpillar turning into a beautiful, coloured flying creature?
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Old July 28th, 2011, 10:11 PM
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Maybe someone could produce a picture of a caterpillar turning into a beautiful, coloured flying creature?
I saw Ma Monarch laying eggs on my milkweed this morning, so maybe I'll get some monarch caterpillars in a few days And if I do, you know I'll get pics!
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Old July 29th, 2011, 01:12 AM
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In the first pic it looks like the next leaf over, already munched on has a blue residue left behind ~ would that be from the larva? or just a trick of the light?

SCM those tent caterpillers are seriously gross I've seen them out here in parks & many many years ago a couple in mum's apple tree but never near as bad as that
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Old July 29th, 2011, 01:00 PM
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I think that dark spot is a blackening of the leaf where it got nommed. The poor plant had certainly seen better days, that's for sure! Half it's leaves were gone!
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