“What is this?” is all this reader asks about the bright green creature in the photo below. From what we can make out, the creature has multiple appendages along its body, which could either be legs or bristles, and may be segmented.
Additionally, one can see a cluster of white specks behind the worm on one of the leaves behind it in the glass. All in all, it is clear from the picture and the context that the photo gives us that this is a caterpillar. What species exactly is difficult to say, as this caterpillar in particular has a very generic appearance. Our best guess is that this is a cabbage looper caterpillar. The cabbage looper caterpillar is the larval form of the cabbage looper moth, and it can be found all over the world. Curiously, as widespread as cabbage loopers are, their appearance is not all that common. This is because their numbers fluctuate from year to year: some years there are plenty of them, and others they are hard to find. The University of Florida’s page on cabbage loopers suggests that this is because of a virus which is particularly deadly to them.
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Despite its name, the cabbage looper feeds on a variety of vegetables, including (but not limited to), cauliflower, squash, broccoli, kale, tomato, radish, cucumber, turnip, and cabbages, of course. This is only a small set of the array of plants and vegetables they host. As such, in large numbers, their presence can be incredibly destructive to gardens and farms. That said, they typically only feed on the leaves of plants, and do not cause much damage to the vegetables themselves so far as rendering them inedible. The exception here is cabbage, through which they will bore all the way to the head, leaving behind faecal matter. That said, The University of Florida maintains that moderate damage to the cabbage is still ultimately “irrelevant.” Regardless, these creatures are not harmful to humans or pets in any direct way, so our reader needs not worry about that.
In conclusion, the bright green worm our reader found is a caterpillar, and may specifically be a cabbage looper, though we cannot say for certain. We hope that he found the information in this article interesting and helpful, and we wish him the best!
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