CATERPILLAR OF THE WEEK: The little-known and yet unmistakable Straight-lined Looper (Pseudeva purpurigera).

This was the caterpillar that started me down the road to founding The Caterpillar Lab. Early on in my caterpillar career, a friend brought me a very strange, ridge-backed caterpillar they found crawling across a stone wall. It was an ID mystery, and despite hours of searching online I could not place it to species. I grabbed my point-and-shoot camera, snapped my first-ever caterpillar photographs, and sent them off to David Wagner, author of "Caterpillars of Eastern North America." Dave, a caterpillar biologist and taxonomist at University of Connecticut, responded to my query, identifying the caterpillar as a Straight-Lined Looper. He has been a supporter of The Caterpillar Lab's work ever since.

Since that first experience with Pseudeva, I learned that the species feeds on meadow rue. It can be common on tall meadow rue growing along roadsides or river banks in spring. I often find them feasting on the flowers just as they begin to bloom. Every year, I raise Straight-lined Loopers and discover something new about them. One of the joys of rearing a little-know species is to witness a behavior or trait that no one else has ever seen before! I plan to write up a complete life history for them in the future.

- Sam Jaffe TCL Director

Each week (or at least SOME weeks!) The Caterpillar Lab features a "Caterpillar of the Week." Each featured caterpillar is a species we've raised at our lab in Keene, NH. We hope you enjoy meeting the caterpillars of New England!

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The Caterpillar Lab fosters greater appreciation and care for the complexity and beauty of our local natural history through live caterpillar educational programs, research initiatives, and photography and film projects. We believe that an increased awareness of one’s local environment is the foundation on which healthy and responsible attitudes towards the broader natural systems of this world is built.

© 2015 CATERPILLAR LAB INC.  With original artwork by Heather Reid and Samuel Jaffe


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