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Caterpillars of Eastern Forests

Verifying Identification

The pictures and descriptions presented in this guide will assist you in making correct identifications for many common moth and butterfly species. Nevertheless, we cannot overstate the importance of documenting your observations or collections. In many cases you will want to rear the caterpillar to the adult stage in order to verify the identification. There are many field guides and illustrated works on adults, and, not surprisingly, there are many entomologists who can identify adult Lepidoptera. Photographs or other image-capture techniques can be used to record details of pattern and coloration—these can be essential should your caterpillar succumb to natural enemies or handling errors before it can emerge as an adult. If positive identification is needed and multiple examples are available, we recommend preserving 1 or 2 voucher specimens that can be sent to specialists and/or deposited in a public institution.
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