ID guide for caterpillars in the PNW or in Canada

I’m fairly new to iNat in terms of actually being active on a regular basis, but I find myself repeatedly hitting this particular wall. I live in BC and I focus on moths, but I don’t even know where to start with the caterpillars – for instance, there have been several times where I’ve seen a caterpillar that I know looks like the larva of Noctua pronuba, but I can’t be sure because I don’t know what other species look similar in their larval stages. Neither BugGuide nor PNWMoths (which have otherwise both been incredibly helpful to me) have been of much use to me for this. Does anyone have any suggestions on where I could get caterpillar identification info?


I’ve been hitting the same wall. I know David L. Wagner wrote a guide to the caterpillars of eastern NA. I think I read somewhere that he had a similar guide in the works for the West. Maybe we just have to wait.


Just spent some time with David Wagner in the Mojave - he’s still working on it and was collecting caterpillars out here.

He was also recently featured in The New Yorker:

Wagner’s “Caterpillars of Eastern North America,” published in 2005, runs to nearly five hundred pages. It relates the life histories of roughly that many species and is considered the definitive field guide on the subject. Wagner is now thirteen years into an even more ambitious project, “Caterpillars of Western North America,” which he plans to publish in four volumes.


Lepidoptera of the Pacific Northwest: Caterpillars and Adults. By Jeffrey C. Miller & Paul C. Hammond. Published by the USDA Forest Service. FHTET-2003-03. December 2003. 324 pages.


Thank you for the resource! Available for free on Google Books too – will definitely make use of this while waiting for the more comprehensive Caterpillars of Western North America mentioned earlier in this thread.


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