Caterpillars exceedingly variable in color - beige/yellow/dark red-brown/black. Body covered in long soft hairs (setae) of variable length - some much longer than the others (more than three body segments in length). Often one long hair in center of each tuft. Spiracles white. (1)
Widespread throughout most of North America, but more common in the east - Map (MPG)
among the most common caterpillars on plantings about yards and gardens, also in bottomlands, woodlands, and forests (1)
Caterpillars feed on "many low-growing plants, and woody shrubs and trees"(1); "uses common milkweed frequently in southwest Michigan. Have found their eggs on common milkweed and raised them to adulthood on it." (Ilse Gebhard, pers. comm. 2016, to MAQ)
Click on any image below to view the Life Cycle:
1. Eggs. 2. Caterpillar. 3. Pupa. 4. Pupa in its cocoon. 5. Adult
Salt Marsh Caterpillar Estigmene acrea. Caterpillars also have long soft hairs - longest hairs are concentrated at the ends of the larva, especially the rear.
Adult: S. virginica has yellow markings on the abdomen, while S. congrua's abdomen is pure white. [comment by Paul Dennehy]
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