Fuzzy Caterpillar Hanging Out

salt-marsh-moth
Photo by Carolynn Waites

I just happened upon this cute fuzzy visitor hanging out in my Plumbago plant. I showed a picture to my friend and she identified it as the caterpillar of a Salt Marsh moth (Estigmene acrea). This appears to be a mature larvae, according to The University of Florida.

My husband initially though it was a Woollybear caterpillar, but those have a rust-colored band. This guy was pure black fuzziness.

I love how they use the fuzzy hair to form their pupae. Here is a picture of a pupae next to an adult Salt Marsh Moth:

saltmarsh_caterpillar07
Photo by Lyle J. Buss, University of Florida

Apparently these caterpillars and moths are considered pests throughout North America, especially in the south. They are known to damage crops including cabbage, cotton, leaves of walnut and apple trees, tobacco, pea vines, potato plants, corn and clover.

Oh well, he (or she) is a cutie and I’m not growing any crops, so live and let live.

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