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Caterpillars of Eastern Forests

Loopers, Inchworms, and Spanworms (Family Geometridae)


Loopers, inchworms, and spanworms make up the second largest family of Lepidoptera in eastern forests. The Geometridae includes many familiar species, a number of which are important pests. As a rule, loopers are superb at matching their background—mimicking foliage, sticks, petioles, and other plant parts. Their disguise may even include plant litter affixed to the body. With but a couple of exceptions, all can be readily recognized by the possession of only a single pair of midabdominal prolegs (on the sixth segment). Being so endowed, they tend to loop rather than crawl, hence their name. Many of the twig mimics have fleshy spurs to either side (paraprocts) and or ventral to the anus (hypoproct). Crochets are usually of 2 lengths. Descriptions in this guide are based on last instars; warts and other swellings tend be less developed in earlier instars. Coloration is highly variable within species and should be used cautiously in identification. Most forest loopers are broadly polyphagous on shrubs and trees, many accept both hardwoods and softwoods.


Caterpillar Thumbnail
Horned Spanworm
(Nematocampa resistaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Kent's Geometer
(Selenia kentaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Oak Beauty
(Nacophora quernaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Oak Besma
(Besma quercivoraria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Maple Spanworm
(Ennomos magnaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Elm Spanworm
(Ennomos subsignaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Purplish-brown Looper
(Eutrapela clemataria)
[Curve-toothed Geometer]
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Cleft-headed Looper
(Biston betularia)
[Pepper-and-salt-Geometer]
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Common Gray
(Anavitrinella pampinaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
One-spotted Variant
(Hypagyrtis unipunctata)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Fervid Plagodis
(Plagodis fervidaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Variable Antepione
(Antepione thisoaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Saddleback Looper
(Ectropis crepuscularia)
[Small Engrailed]
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Common Metarranthis
(Metarranthis hypochraria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
American Barred Umber
(Anagoga occiduaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
White Slant-line
(Tetracis cachexiata)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Northern Pine Looper
(Caripeta piniata)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Linden Looper
(Erannis tiliaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Small Phigalia
(Phigalia strigataria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Half-wing
(Phigalia titea)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Pale Metanema
(Metanema inatomaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Bent-lined Gray
(Iridopsis larvaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Small Purplish Gray
(Anacamptodes humaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Fringed Looper
(Campaea perlata)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Hemlock Looper
(Lambdina fiscellaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Yellow-headed Looper Moth
(Lambdina pellucidaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Fall Cankerworm
(Alsophila pometaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Double-lined Gray
(Cleora sublunaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Canadian Melanolophia
(Melanolophia canadaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Wild Cherry Looper
(Lomographa semiclarata)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
White-fringed Emerald
(Nemoria mimosaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Autumn Juniper Moth
(Thera juniperata)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Curve-lined Angle
(Semiothisa continuata)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Hemlock Angle
(Semiothisa fissinotata)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Powder Moth
(Eufidonia notataria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Yellow-dusted Cream Moth
(Cabara erythemaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Tulip-tree Beauty
(Epimecis hortaria)
Caterpillar Thumbnail
Juniper Twig Inch-worm
(Patalene olyzonaria)
[Juniper Geometer]

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