The first moth caterpillar I ever raised was this Withered Mocis. I tried my hardest to ID the caterpillar, but I didn’t know anything about moths yet and I failed miserably. So I just waited for the baby to come out of her cocoon to learn who she was. Look at how beautiful she is! I love her furry boops 😭
The caterpillars eat grasses–and this is actually pretty common! She camouflaged very well among the dried grasses, and she had a defense of “flashing” her black … eyebars? You can see those in the profile shot of her. Also, notice that she has only three sets of prolegs (prolegs are the fleshy appendages they use to hold onto things). Most caterpillars have five pair–four regular pairs and a final “anchor” pair at the end of their abdomen. Some caterpillars, like inchworms, have fewer (in their case, only two pairs!). Caterpillars like this one, with 3 or 4 pairs of prolegs, are often called “loopers” because they still “loop” like inchworms… but inchworms are specifically Geometridae. This Withered Mocis is in Erebidae (with Tiger moths).
My baby munched on Saint Augustine for a week before completely disappearing. But then I found her cocoon! Look! It’s grasses! Two weeks after making a cocoon and pupating, she came out. I took a peek inside the cocoon, and found her empty pupa, and her old caterpillar face.
Photos from June 25 – July 13, 2017 / Posted June 11, 2018