larva ID

Richard Hall hall at
Thu Sep 3 12:58:30 EDT 1998

There is an insect larvae that is abundant on redbud leaves in my yard,
and I am having a hard time deciding what it is.  The term leaftier or
leafroller would be appropriate, as it cements bands of silk to the leaf
surface which seem to shrink as they dry, bending the leaf.  Eventually,
they completely fold the leaf over on itself, or they simply tie two
leaves together with silk.

This leads me to suspect that it's a caterpillar, and at a glance it
looks very much like a black-and-white banded caterpillar, maybe 2cm
long, but upon inspection, the black bands turn out to be dorsal
sclerites, which appear on every body segment.  The white bands are
membraneous skin.  The thoracic legs are completely sclerotized, and
there are at least five abdominal prolegs.  I have yet to collect one
for a look under a scope.  There are anal projections, but they are too
small to see.

Meanwhile, are there any moth or sawfly larvae that have dorsal
sclerites on any or all body segments?  Are there beetle larvae that can
produce silk from the mouthparts and have abdominal prolegs?  Could it
be a terrestrial caddisfly?

Rikki Hall

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