I saw these guys in Bastrop state park today and I’m not sure if they’re caterpillars or something else. Each one was roughly ¾ in and metallic. The last two pictures are of the plant they are on, unfortunately I do not know what it is either.
You’re right about these being babies, but they’re not caterpillars (they don’t have little suction cup prolegs, if you were to look for them). These guys are the larvae of a skeletonizing leaf beetle, which means they eat the leaves down to the veins, so it looks like a skeleton when they’re done. These beautiful metallic larvae belong to the Groundselbush Beetle, which eats… groundsel bush! I’ve never seen one, but a friend of mine has (I’m JEALOUS):
© Meghan Cassidy. Check out her observation on iNaturalist [link to source]
I have seen a cousin beetle larvae, in the genus Derospidea. Not as pretty, but still interesting!
I will have to head out to Bastrop State Park soon to take a peek at these guys! Thanks for asking! 😀
March 29, 2019