Entomology (Study of Bugs)/identifying larvae


Hello Mr. Hintz,
I found an insect larvae yesterday and have been trying to find out what kind it is.  It was found when digging with a shovel undersome trees on a hillside in Western North Carolina.  Hardwood forest with some pine trees, and eastern cedar also.
The larvae is elateriform, I believe.  it is about two inches long, with orange and black segments in its body.  It has six legs, the longest ones toward the rear, which are about 1/4 inches long.  it has little things sticking out around its mouth, that look like feelers or something.  It can stretch out when it is trying to walk, until it is about 3 inches long.  The segments of its body are mostly black, with two distinct rows of orange kind of square-shaped spots on either side.  I have also noticed that it has bioluminescence.  When you turn off the lights, parts of its body glow, but seemingly not always!
I have been unsuccessful in looking on the web to try to identify it.  Can you help me?
It has twelve segments to its body, and the body is a little over 1/ inch wide in the center, and tapering a little toward each end.
Thank you so much for your time.
Ann Goswick

I will have to see a photo of this Ann. It sounds like a caterpillar but I am not sure. Can you send me a photo


I received the photo on my phone and I am sure it is a beetle larvae but I cannot see all of it nor can I see the eyes but what I can see it resembles the larvae of a Riffle Beetle

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Walter Hintz


I can answer any questions about insects and spiders.


I have taught science for over 57 years. I am presently teaching biology at the college level. I have done extensive graduate work in entomology.

Momentum Magazine The Ohio Journal of Science

B.S. In Ed Kent State Unuv M.Sc The Ohio State Univ National Science Foundation Fellowships: Electron Microscopy Univ of California Entomology Kent State Univ

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.