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What looks just like a caterpillar, but isn’t? Sawfly larvae. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen my very first Elm Sawfly larvae (Cimbex americana). I couldn’t help but notice this bright white caterpillar munching on this dark green Elm leaf. I thought I was going to have an awesome entry for The Moth and Me, but sadly, no. When I took a look at this picture, I noticed that I had not seen a caterpillar head quite like this before…usually it is hard to tell where the head is. And if a caterpillar’s head is obvious, it seems like there is never such a prominent eye.
Turns out that this is one of the distinctions between sawfly larvae and caterpillars. Also, caterpillars usually have only 4 pairs of “prolegs,” while sawfly larvae usually have at least five (like this one).1
Want to see what this super-cool, moonlight-white larvae becomes?
- Caterpillars of Eastern North America, by David L. Wagner, © 2005 by Princeton University Press ↩