Friday, June 19, 2015

Purple caterpillars?

When Pi told me that she had PURPLE caterpillars in her Blanco yard, I said SEND ME A PHOTO! And wow, was she right! Those are INDEED purple critters of some sorts. 

Smart me. I got online and Googled "purple caterpillars." Voila! Instant answer–these are sawfly larvae, likely Neoptilia tora

So what are sawflies? Glad you asked because I want to know, too. According to what I briefly read, sawflies are neither flies nor wasps. The name "sawfly" refers to the female's sawlike ovipositor that cuts into plant tissues to deposit eggs. 

UPDATED August 16, 2015...My images in moved by Mike Quinn from "Unidenitifed mallow-feeding purple sawfly larvae" to "Neoptilia tora."


Melody said...

I had never heard of sawflies until I saw your post this morning and was wondering what kind of damage they do. Then I read the Express-News online and the first letter in Neil Sperry's article was a question about sawfly damage on leaves! He said that the larvae will skeletonize the leaves but won't kill the tree and if they wanted to they could use some BT on it. Thanks for showing the purple caterpillars. I'd never seen them before and will now know what they are if I do!

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

Hey, what timing about Mr. Sperry's column! In the meantime, we found these guys in our own gardens! Post to come. :-)

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