The Most Confused Moth I Know

bristly caterpillar dark with yellow dorsal strip

I’m not the only one confused? I think this portly caterpillar is Haploa confusa, the Confused Haploa Moth.

Some confusions in my life seem interminable, but with bugs, it mostly works out. In this case, I think the confusion worked out by leaving me confused. So to speak. It left me with a Confused Haploa Moth. I originally narrowed it with confidence down to Genus Haploa, but then I hit some trouble. The larvae across five or six species look very similar to the untrained eye. Using BugGuide.net and David Wagner’s Caterpillars of Eastern North America: A Guide to Identification and Natural History (a truly excellent guide book, I decided it was Haploa confusa; the prominent dorsal stripe and less defined subdorsal stripes seem to give it the edge over H. lecontei (Leconte’s Haploa). It’s always nice to get a tough ID; it’s like solving a mystery.

Incidentally, the adult moths in this genus look very similar as well, in that they typically have triangular cream-colored wings with striking brown patterns and orange heads. I don’t have any adult shots on BugPhoto.net, but I have at least a  couple Haploa sp. adults in my archives. One being the Clymene Moth, H. clymene, which is probably most well-known for its cross-like (think Jesus) pattern. (Two photos after the break/below.)

bristly caterpillar dark with yellow dorsal strip

Still confused? The Haploa sp. caterpillar here is almost forming a question mark on its back. (All we need is a little frass at the end there.)

black head of bristly caterpillar dark with yellow dorsal strip

Hello, Haploa!

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