Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Inchworm That Looks Like a Twig

Maple Spanworm - Ennomos magnaria
The only reason I saw this caterpillar is because it was hanging from a silk line over a path at eye level. It's another member of the Geometridae, which make up a large part of our spring time lepidopterans (never mind the butterflies, they're nothing compared to this group in terms of numbers).  I found it hanging from an Amur Maple; according to the "Caterpillars of Eastern North America" it eats leaves from a wide variety trees and shrubs.  It'll spend the summer as a pupa, emerging as a moth in the late summer or early fall.  While the caterpillar is a twig mimic, the adult moth mimics dead leaves.  The eggs overwinter.


  1. I have a twig worm on my pot plant in my house. He seems quite happy eating my African Violet.Can I leave him there.I watch him everyday.Is there anything else I must give him?

  2. Maybe spray the leaves with water occassionally. Enjoy!

  3. I'm sorry but I want to get rid of my inchworms that look like twigs. They are ruining my Redbud and my new shrubs. What can I use to rid of them before they completely eat all the leaves? By the way, we have had a huge problem in my area with all kinds of inchworms the last few years. They have almost killed my huge old maple tree. This year was the first year there hasn't been a gazillion of them, but now the Twig worms...... Thanks.

  4. I killed one today and green stuff came out i probably picked up a few and tossed them thinking that they where twigs ewwww......

  5. Is this a good thing in the garden; twig worm?

    1. I have one and I have thrown that darn thing 21 times and he still won't stop
      eatingn my pants should I get rid of it

  6. I have a little brown inch worm, also. It looks like a twig. I found it at the very beginning of February, on my fir tree.
    We had an unusually warm January, with highs in the 50's, maybe, that is why it was out and about so early.
    The weather was going to turn bitter cold and snow was in the forecast, so, I decided to bring the little inchy inside.
    I got a plastic container, that's about 5" deep by 8" wide and 18" long and put in a few inches of soil, then planted grass and cut a bunch of different types of leaves, with the branches attached and planted them branch first, into the dirt. After I planted and situated everything, I poured filtered water over the dirt and grass, then misted all the leaves.
    I do this daily, which keeps it all alive and fresh, but, I still change out the entire contents every 3 days, sometimes every 2, -depending on how everything looks. I keep my little inchworm in front of a huge window so it gets plenty of natural light.
    There is no lid to keep my inch worm contained, but, there's so much foilage to keep him busy, that he hasn't tried to escape.
    Plus, I check on him several times a day. I've really become attached to this wonderful little creature!

  7. I just found a huge one, looks more like a stick than a stick does. Even has some green dots that look like lichen. My daughter wants to keep it through its metamorphosis and then release it as a moth. Any suggestions to help it cocoon?