Creature Found in Pentas is a Caterpillar

One of our readers just sent us a picture along with a short message that we will share with you. She wrote, “What is this? I found it in the dirt of my small garden of pentas. I have included a picture. I’ve picked it up, the back half of it is hard and it wiggles back and forth when it’s held.” Here is the photograph:

The specimen looks rather small and round. It is light brown and has a black stripe running down the side of its body. We are confident that this is a caterpillar, which is another way to say that we believe it is the larva of a moth or butterfly. So, what kind of caterpillar is this?

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There are about 20,000 species of caterpillars known worldwide! Caterpillars can often be extremely difficult to identify for a few reasons. First of all, some caterpillars of the same species have vastly different markings and body colors. In addition, caterpillars of two different species might actually resemble each other very closely. We aren’t sure which species of caterpillar our reader has found.

It is helpful to know that she found them in her pentas, or Pentas lanceolata. Pentas are thought to be one of the best butterfly-attracting plants around since they bloom all summer long despite the heat. The most common caterpillar that is found on pentas is the Tersa sphinx moth larva. However, this larva is green with large eyespot markings and a horn. In other words, it looks nothing like the caterpillar our reader found. Since so many caterpillars are attracted to pentas, we aren’t sure which species our reader has found.

To conclude, a reader found a light brown caterpillar in her pentas. Despite the great photograph, we were unable to determine the species. If any of our readers recognize this specimen, we invite them to comment on this article!

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Creature Found in Pentas is a Caterpillar
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Creature Found in Pentas is a Caterpillar
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A reader found a light brown caterpillar in her pentas. Despite the great photograph, we were unable to determine the species. If any of our readers recognize this specimen, we invite them to comment on this article!
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