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Photo#397853
Caterpillar eating my hops! - Polygonia interrogationis

Caterpillar eating my hops! - Polygonia interrogationis
Troutville, Botetourt County, Virginia, USA
April 25, 2010
I found several of these in my hops. They had used their "silk" to pull the leaves into a taco-like shape.

Moved
Moved from ID Request.

I'm pretty sure that Polygonia is correct.
I can't quite make out whether there are horns on the head, but that is always a good clue to this genus. It's hard to be sure which species, but Question Mark - Polygonia interrogationis looks likely. The other likely choice is a Comma - Polygonia comma. This one is still pretty small, and I can't remember for sure if the smaller ones look significantly different or not. When larger, the patterns are usually courser on the Comma, and it tends to have more white hairs on the head (vs. dark). Generally the Comma is the one that likes Nettles and Hops best, and the Question Mark tends to favor trees like Elm and Hackberry (but sometimes they change the menu a bit). My Grandparents called them "Hop Merchants", which usually applies to the Comma in books, but in practice the name works for any spiny caterpillar feeding on Hops (in Colorado, where they lived, it's actually usually the Satyr - though their Hops had both Commas and Satyrs).

This one is young, and I suspect that the spines will all become the same color (or mostly so) as it grows. It would be fun if you posted more photos showing them as they grow. You'll probably see the new adults flying around in a few weeks.

 
Flying around!? I planted ho
Flying around!? I planted hops this year and not only did the the poor plant get struck by lighting (not joking) which is "shocking" enough for a little plant, it keeps getting these little bastards which eat every leaf that even thinks about popping out. I remove them all the time, but I travel for a living so I can't be on it constantly.

Maybe something in Polygonia?
Resembles P. interrogationis:


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