Yellow Caterpillar with Black Stripes on Leg Could be a Long-tailed Skipper Caterpillar

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Michelle writes to us her daughter found a caterpillar-like creature (pictured below) on her leg when walking home from the library. “She did go into one of her friend’s yards and knocked on their door: they weren’t home so she continued to walk home via the road. She didn’t go into any bushy or forested areas on the way home but found this little caterpillar thing crawling on her leg. So, we wanted to identify it and find out what kind of caterpillar or larvae it is. We did notice that it created a silk or web-like substance.” Based on the photo, we agree that this looks like a caterpillar. Unfortunately, the lighting in the photo makes it hard to see what color the caterpillar really is: we think it looks yellow, but that could also be the lighting. It could very well be a light green or gray color.

In any case, we could not match this caterpillar with any species perfectly, but of all the ones we looked at, we thought this most resembled the long-tailed skipper caterpillar. The long-tailed skipper is a butterfly, one that we think sort of looks like a moth because of its thicker, furry body. In any case, the butterfly is a beautiful sapphire blue color, with brown wings speckled with white and black spots. According to Butterflies and Moths.org’s “webpage on the long-tailed skipper butterfly“, the caterpillars feed on the leaves of various plants, including bean plants, blue peas, and hog peanuts: quite the interesting mix of plants if you ask us.

Now, Michelle mentions the caterpillar spinning silk, which is indeed something the long-tailed skipper caterpillar can do. In fact, it does this after rolling itself in a leaf to seal the gaps and keep itself protected while it begins pupation (the process during which the caterpillar forms a chrysalis and metamorphoses into a butterfly). On the note of leaf-rolling, it will also do this throughout the caterpillar stage (AKA the larval stage) when it is done eating for the day. Although Michelle’s daughter did walk through an bushy or forested areas, this caterpillar was maybe just on a gander, or maybe it did fall on her daughter from a tree (provided there are trees near the library or her friend’s yard). In any case, Michelle does not need to worry for her daughter. These caterpillars are completely harmless.

In conclusion, the caterpillar that Michelle’s daughter found on her leg could be a long-tailed skipper caterpillar, though it is hard to say for sure given the lack of clarity in the photo. We hope this helps and we wish Michelle, as well as her daughter, the very best!

 

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Summary
Yellow Caterpillar with Black Stripes on Leg Could be a Long-tailed Skipper Caterpillar
Article Name
Yellow Caterpillar with Black Stripes on Leg Could be a Long-tailed Skipper Caterpillar
Description
Michelle writes to us her daughter found a caterpillar-like creature (pictured below) on her leg when walking home from the library. "She did go into one of her friend's yards and knocked on their door: they weren't home so she continued to walk home via the road. She didn't go into any bushy or forested areas on the way home but found this little caterpillar thing crawling on her leg. So, we wanted to identify it and find out what kind of caterpillar or larvae it is. We did notice that it created a silk or web-like substance." Based on the photo, we agree that this looks like a caterpillar. Unfortunately, the lighting in the photo makes it hard to see what color the caterpillar really is: we think it looks yellow, but that could also be the lighting. It could very well be a light green or gray color.
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Author: Worm Researcher Anton

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