Mystery larvae

Harriett Wright harriett at
Wed Dec 26 21:36:51 EST 2001

Thanks, Richard.  Another member of your newsgroup already sent me the URL
for a picture of the oleander caterpillar.  That site indicated that rubber
gloves were a must when handling this caterpillar, but the truth is, that
when I was a child we had oleanders and I used to handle the caterpillars
(Which is probably why they looked so familiar to me) with no ill effects.
I agree that the adult is quite beautiful.  Somehow, even as a child I
connected the moth with the caterpillar.

I had assumed that oleander caterpillars were introduced into Florida along
with oleanders--now I see that these guys must have been here already,
munching out on native members of the apocynaceae, although probably the
widespread use of oleanders in landscaping has been favorable for their
increase.  I haven't noticed any oleanders in my neighborhood.  I have a
small recently planted Pentalinon lutea, and there were only four or five
caterpillars on it so I decided to keep an eye on them and the next time I
looked they were gone, having done minimal damage.


Richard Worth wrote:

> Hello Harriet,
> Something bright orange with thin black tufts, feeding on an
> apocynaceous plant in the Tampa area leads me to the conclusion that
> you likely have the Oleander caterpillar.  Is this a landscape plant
> in your yard?  Go to this site:
> to see if it is the right beast.  The adult is a real beauty.
> Rich
> >Can anyone tell me what butterfly or other insect uses Pentalinon
> >lutea as a host plant?  The caterpillars are orange with tufts of
> >straight stiff hairs.  The Pentalinon is growing somewhat north of its
> >natural range, in Tampa, FL.
> >
> >Thanks,
> >Harriett
> >
> >
> >
> >  ------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> >    For subscription and related information about LEPS-L visit:
> >
> >
> >
> Richard A. Worth
> Oregon Department of Agriculture
> Plant Division
> rworth at
> (503) 986-6461


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