A reader recently sent us a photo of a green worm-like organism and asked “What is this?” She didn’t provide any additional information, such as its size and where she found it. It might also be helpful to know where she is from in a geographical sense. Some organisms are only found in very specific regions of the world because of the environmental conditions they need to survive. However, we will just work with what we have, the photograph she sent:
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The creature is light green, has some black and yellow markings on its back, and has a brown head. Also, compared to the twigs and sticks in the background of this picture, we think the organism is on the larger size. We are confident that this is a caterpillar!
Caterpillars are the larvae of moths and butterflies belonging to the Lepidoptera order. There are over 20,000 species of known caterpillars around the world. Identifying a caterpillar correctly can be a difficult process because they vary in color, size, and appearance. In addition, some caterpillars of the same species look different than each other while two caterpillars of two different species might look very similar.
We don’t know what species of caterpillar our reader found. There are many species that look very similar to the specimen she discovered. Knowing which kinds of plants it was near or feeding on would be helpful because different species of caterpillars eat specific crops. However, we can say with confidence that based on the large size of the caterpillar, it is probably almost ready to pupate and mature into a moth or butterfly.
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In summary, a reader sent us a photo of a green organism she found. We believe the specimen is a caterpillar, or the larva of a moth or butterfly. We aren’t sure which species of caterpillar it is. If any other readers recognize this caterpillar we invite them to comment below!