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Despite my earlier protestations, and with much appreciated assistance, I not only planted what turned out to be an overfilled garden, I har...

May 6, 2011

What is that bug?

Two years ago in May J. ran into the house screaming about some strange "bug thing" that fell on him out of the tree. It was jumping around and looked very menacing and dangerous. On the outside it looked like a twig or piece of bark that just scraped off of the large oaks we have in the yard. Upon further exploration we found that it had the most beautiful purple belly that didn't quite belong on the same menacing creature with what look like pincers on both ends. To the left you will find a picture of a caterpillar in the same family as the one we found. I'll try to find the pictures we took of our back yard guest for you all, but you get the idea from this one shared from bugguide.net. What we did was submit pictures and a description of our caterpillar to bugguide.net and whatsthatbug.com. After almost two years we have gotten answers to a question that plagued us. We didn't know if the caterpillar was a new species and invasive or poisonous so any news was good news. So with all that said, the name of this fascinating caterpillar that makes itself look so menacing is Catocala Underwing Moth Caterpillar! It sure is a mouthful to say, but a relief to know we aren't having a plague of some kind in our area. Now that we have established the type and we know when to look for them I foresee a very busy boy and his mom paroosing the backyard with magnifying glass and specimen jars in hand. If there is a bug you are not familiar with and you get a chance to snag it in a jar and snap photos; please check out the forementioned websites ask neighbors, and even master gardeners who can sometimes be found at local libraries to find out more information. With that I leave you with pictures of the beautiful caterpillar underbelly, also found at bugguide.net.
Happy Planting, and TGIF!!!!