What's that thread-spinning, seahorse-like worm/caterpillar?
While out in the backyard, this strange looking seahorse-like creature dropped down in front of my face near a large maple tree. I recorded some video as the thread-spinning worm/caterpillar danced around in front of me and posted it on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfaxxYBrll8 What's that worm/caterpillar?
Ramsey County Minnesota
There are many caterpillars in Minnesota and your picture is a bit blurry.
Here is a list of common ones https://files.dnr.state.mn.us/mcvmagazine/young_naturalists/young-naturalists-article/butterflies-and-moths/mayjun2016_young_naturalists.pdf
I am inclined to think this is a tent caterpillar.
The branch in the picture is not a maple. The pictures show how to look for the evidence on the leaves and branches and suggest management strategies although in most situations, nothing should be done.
Thank you for contacting us.
A second Master Gardener looked at your pictures and believes this is a Cankerworm based on its behavior and appearance.
I enclose some excellent information for you.
I hope this helps.
Best wishes to you.
I agree with my colleague that this is a cankerworm but please put some in a ziplock bag and bring to many farmer's markets or the Arboretum for so that someone can take a closer look.
Here are some sites on Caterpillar identification.
I hope this helps. Let me know.
It didn't look like any of the caterpillar pictures in any of the links you provided. I watched this thing flying around my head, spinning and dancing on a thread, for about 10 minutes. Apparently, caterpillars have 3 pairs of legs. This thing had 2 spindly horse-like front legs and 3 spikes near the tail.
Caterpillars have two kinds of structures (tentacles on the head or osmetrium on the prothoracic segment behind the head). The osmetrium secrete a stinky material to deter predators. The Black Swallowtail Butterfly in Minnesota belongs to the papilionidae family of butterflies that has this structure.
I hope this helps
After searching through hundreds of frames of video, I think I provided a reasonably clear picture of the worm-like creature I hope to identify. For your convenience, I'll try to tweek the image a bit and attach it again to this reply. The worm-like thing I saw looks nothing like the caterpillars that produce black swallowtail butterfles.
Thanks Bob, that's close, but I'm pretty sure the one I saw was more like a couple inches or longer. Even a 2-inch worm dancing around was pretty difficult to capture with my pocket instamatic camera. I think if it was only 3/4 of an inch, I would have got nothing at all. Also, mine has this white furry stuff coming out of what looks like the back of its head. Other than that though, it does look similar to the spanworm moth.
Thanks I will forward this to Bob who is away at this time.
I think this may be the caterpillar you saw. It is very unusual and not seen this far north so it escaped our usual Minnesota filters. Click on images. See: https://bugguide.net/node/view/497/bgimage
Thanks Mary. It was definitely something along those lines. It seemed to be dangling from a thread possibly somehow connected to the white fluff on its head. I don't see any images of the Phyprosopus callitrichoides - Curve-lined Owlet that show it dangling from a thread or with the white fluff attached.