Zebra caterpillar


Zebra caterpillar
Melanchra picta
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Noctuidae
Genus: Melanchra
Species: M. picta
Binomial name
Ceramica picta
Harris, 1841
Synonyms

Ceramica picta

The zebra caterpillar is the larva of an American noctuid moth (Melanchra picta or Ceramica picta) that feeds on cabbages, beets and other cultivated plants.

The head, thorax and forewings of adults are chestnut- or reddish-brown, usually with purplish brown mottling on the wings. The whitish hind wings have pale brown margins. The abdomen is light gray. The wingspan is 35 to 40 mm (about 1-1/2 inches).

The newly hatched larvae are whitish, marked by dark heads and several dark spots scattered over the body. The more mature caterpillars vary in color, often displaying bright and conspicuous hues, usually with prominent black and light yellow longitudinal stripes. The top stripe is black, the top-lateral stripe and the stripe below the spiracles are cream to bright yellow, and the spiracle stripe and bottom stripe are black and marked with numerous white lines and spots. The mid-dorsal line is pale and may be well developed or absent. The underside and legs are light red-brown or yellow. The head is reddish or reddish-brown and without dark arcs or reticulations. Larvae are 35 to 40 mm long when mature.

The larvae first feed in small compact groups until molting, after which they scatter throughout the foliage. They feed during the day. When disturbed on foliage, they roll up and fall to the ground.

Zebra caterpillars thrive throughout the United States. Known as general feeders in the western states, they usually become pests in late summer. This caterpillar often exists in a mixed population with the bertha armyworm and the variegated cutworm.

External links

  • Zebra caterpillar. Integrated Pest Management on Peppermint-IPMP3.0, Integrated Plant Protection Center, Oregon State University. Modified from Ralph E. Berry (1998), Insects and Mites of Economic Importance in the Northwest, 2nd ed.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Zebra caterpillar — Zebra e bra, n. [Pg. zebra; cf. Sp. cebra; probably from a native African name.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any member of three species of African wild horses remarkable for having the body white or yellowish white, and conspicuously marked with dark brown or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • zebra caterpillar — noun : a caterpillar that is the larva of an American noctuid moth (Ceramica picta), that is light yellow with a broad black stripe on the back and lateral stripes crossed with white, and that feeds on cultivated plants (as cabbages, beets) …   Useful english dictionary

  • Zebra — e bra, n. [Pg. zebra; cf. Sp. cebra; probably from a native African name.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any member of three species of African wild horses remarkable for having the body white or yellowish white, and conspicuously marked with dark brown or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Zebra opossum — Zebra e bra, n. [Pg. zebra; cf. Sp. cebra; probably from a native African name.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any member of three species of African wild horses remarkable for having the body white or yellowish white, and conspicuously marked with dark brown or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Zebra parrakeet — Zebra e bra, n. [Pg. zebra; cf. Sp. cebra; probably from a native African name.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any member of three species of African wild horses remarkable for having the body white or yellowish white, and conspicuously marked with dark brown or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Zebra poison — Zebra e bra, n. [Pg. zebra; cf. Sp. cebra; probably from a native African name.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any member of three species of African wild horses remarkable for having the body white or yellowish white, and conspicuously marked with dark brown or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Zebra shark — Zebra e bra, n. [Pg. zebra; cf. Sp. cebra; probably from a native African name.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any member of three species of African wild horses remarkable for having the body white or yellowish white, and conspicuously marked with dark brown or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Zebra spider — Zebra e bra, n. [Pg. zebra; cf. Sp. cebra; probably from a native African name.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any member of three species of African wild horses remarkable for having the body white or yellowish white, and conspicuously marked with dark brown or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Zebra swallowtail — Zebra e bra, n. [Pg. zebra; cf. Sp. cebra; probably from a native African name.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any member of three species of African wild horses remarkable for having the body white or yellowish white, and conspicuously marked with dark brown or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Zebra wolf — Zebra e bra, n. [Pg. zebra; cf. Sp. cebra; probably from a native African name.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any member of three species of African wild horses remarkable for having the body white or yellowish white, and conspicuously marked with dark brown or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


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