Entomology (Study of Bugs)/mystery lg


I see that I miss-typed the size these lgs are now.  .25 inches, not .5. Too small for me to figure out prolegs.
On the upside, I released and tagged 3 perfect Monarchs today. 6 to go, so I'm hoping for continued warm weather.

ANSWER: Dear Joyce - I hope that your babies will at least grow to a size where identification may be possible - they really are a puzzle to me at this point. On the other hand, it's good to hear someone is finding Monarchs - I have yet to see a single one on its way westward this fall.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

mystery caterpillar
mystery caterpillar  

mystery caterpillar
mystery caterpillar  
Now after nearly 5 weeks, we can see that they are indeed caterpillars. For a while I thought they might be Juniper Carpet moths based on the photo in Wagner, but they have ignored the juniper I put in their containers. A friend has an Owlet book and thinks that is the best ID. The attached photos are too dark, but the best I can do. Now about .75 inches long. One I didn't photograpgh is much lighter and smaller than the others. I have 5 and my friend is tending 2. Still eating dandelion.
Last 2 Monarchs tagged and released Monday - a horrible year here for them. I saw 1 in our yard all year, and I had the best milkweed crop ever. These that I released came from eggs in the yard of a woman about 20 miles away who had more action in her yard than anyone I know.

Dear Joyce -As dark as your images are, I think that I can see some resemblance to caterpillars in the family Noctuidae, so your friend may be correct. See http://tinyurl.com/k6jzz5e and http://tinyurl.com/yh2t36h for a couple of examples. If this is the case, they should grow considerably larger.
Awaiting further results,

p.s - Still have yet to see any migrating Monarchs here...  :-(

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad


Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.


21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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