Salt Marsh Moth Caterpillar (Estigmene acrea)

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Salt Marsh Moth Caterpillar (Estigmene acrea)

saltmarshcaterpillarspiderwortnov2016Native hosts include Dogfennel and other potentially aggressive species.

Serves as a host for other species such as tachinid flies and Hymenopterans (Bees, Wasps and Sawflies) which parasitized the eggs/larvae.

Larvae feed on a variety of plants including “cash crops”, so not a favorite with farmers.

This is an early instar.

Coloring can be highly variable: http://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.edu/species.php?hodges=8131

Learn: http://bugguide.net/node/view/3242

Learn more: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/leaf/saltmarsh_caterpillar.htm

Shown on Florida Native Plant: BLUEJACKET; OHIO SPIDERWORT (Tradescantia ohiensis)

I think it has the cutest face.

I think it has the cutest face.

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