Inchworm, Inchworm, Oh So Small

Soybean looper (Chrysodeixis includens) | 3rd-instar larva

Okay, I know this is not a real “inchworm” (generally restricted to caterpillars in the family Geometridae), but this young larva of a soybean looper (Chrysodeixis includens, family Noctuidae) is just too cute to not have an equally cute name. I believe it is an early 3rd instar, based on its small size (~7mm in length), lightly colored head capsule, and distinct bristles around the head and on the body—1st instars have a black head capsule, while 2nd instars have a light brown head capsule, and in both the bristles on the body are smaller and not as distinct.

This larva hatched from an egg laid on soybean by a laboratory-reared adult.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2012

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About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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