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Caterpillar  blk & orange - Tarache delecta

Caterpillar blk & orange - Tarache delecta
Deep Fork Wildlife Refuge, Okmulgee County, Oklahoma, USA
November 14, 2003
Feeding on mallow.
I believe that this is the same species as the other two that I have linked (below) but a later, perhaps last instar.
I have never been able to ID this cat. and it is driving me crazy. HELP.

Moved from Acontiinae.

Tarache delecta
As far as I can tell this is the only member of the Acontiinae that feeds on mallow (see Noctuidae of North America). It is referred to as the "mallow caterpillar" in Weiss (1919), who gives a description and b/w photos that seem to match this individual pretty well.


Looks like you will have to take
a couple of these into captivity in order for us all to find out what it is!!

Yes I have considered that but I have only done that one time and the larva was inside a trumpet vine seed pod. If I collect the plant it will die and no longer be food for the larva, so I am not sure how to go about it.

Hannah has an article on raising
caterpillars in the Forums here. The important thing would be to find more of the plants on which the larva feeds. Then you collect a few fresh leaves frequently, but yes, you would not collect the entire plant, nor would you attempt this if there is only one such plant in your area.

Thanks. I read Hannah's article and printed it out.
I know that the black and orange caterpillar was on a mallow plant because it was in bloom. As I am not sure what this latest larva is on I think I will not try to rear it.
As much as I would like to know what it is I do not want to kill it.

Searched the caterpillar hostplant database for
Noctuidae on Malvaceae in the USA and got this. Unfortunately not many images of caterpillars available.

Thanks, I printed out the page.
I think I can narrow it down further as the Hibiscus genus.

Drives us crazy every time we see your image too.
We always think Zale or Catocala, but always come up empty. We have something somewhat similar here on BugGuide under Gonodonta, , but see Herschel's comment on that image. Will be exciting to see what it actually is when it's finally identified.

unknown cat.
I sent the pictures to a budding lep. man at the University of Arts and Sciences in Chickasha Okla. and he identified them as 2nd or 3rd instars of the common buckeye.
The spines being more evident in later instars.
I sent the darker image to David Wagner it see if He agrees.

unknown cat.
David thinks Acontiinae. Perhaps a Spragueia.

Yes, much better than Buckeye
All you have to do is count the prolegs to know it's not Buckeye. Not many caterpillars like Acontiinae with two pair of abdominal prolegs.

I swear that I did the exact same thing but only the text showed up.

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