A reader sent us a photo and asked us to identify the creature in it. After glancing at the photo we are quite sure that it isn’t a worm, but perhaps a caterpillar or a different insect. We will do our best to solve this mystery!
The creature appears to be several inches long, lined with either bristles or legs, and with antenna or pinchers at its anterior end. The organism has a patterned back that is segmented into about 10 sections with an extended head. The pattern is made up of a white stripe running down the length of its dark brown back.
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Although our reader has provided an excellent image, we are stumped as to what this could be. We think it could be an underwing caterpillar. These caterpillars are often segmented and have a similar shape and texture to the specimen in question. However, we have never come across an underwing caterpillar with the pattern on this creature. Also, underwing caterpillars don’t often have such prominent appendages. We also believe that perhaps the photo was taken as the creature was moving and that resulted in the appendages being so visible.
Since we do not know where this specimen was found, it’s even more difficult to determine what it is.
We encourage other readers to comment with ideas they have about the identification of this organism!
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UPDATE: One of our readers reached out to us and informed us that this is an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail larva!