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Sawfly Larva? - Atomacera decepta

Sawfly Larva? - Atomacera decepta
Mason Neck State Park, Fairfax County, Virginia, USA
July 5, 2009
Several of these were chowing down on the leaves of this plant growing right next to a stagnant pond full of duckweed. I don't know how to tell sawfly larvae from caterpillars yet, but some of these had positions along leaf edges like I've seen in pictures of sawflies, so it made me think that. And is that his own poop on his back?

Found on Japanese Knotweed.

Moved from Common Sawflies.

Atomacera decepta Rohwer
Argidae. We have plenty of these on our hibiscus here in Fairfax Co.; also feeds on hollyhock.

Nice to know!
Thanks so much.

This was
on a leaf adjacent to these - are they a different instar of the same creature?

Sawfly larvae
have more than 5 pairs of prolegs in addition to the 3 pairs of real legs. A long time ago when I was in school I learned that caterpillars have at least two legless segments between the segments with the real legs and the segments with the prolegs. According to both criteria your image shows a caterpillar.

for the lesson! =)

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