Lots of Lovable Larva

Many insects go through a stage in their life where they don’t look like their adult selves, where… many would say they’re not exactly as adorable as their adult form, for example:

  • Manduca sexta - Really pretty moth but the caterpillar tends to decimate garden favorites like tomato and pepper
  • Cotinis mutabilis - Striking metallic green beetle where the larva is just funky: despite having some legs in the front it crawls on its back!

Have you come across any larval/nymph stage insects where there’s something that you find particularly cute or interesting about it? If so, please share!

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Glochidium of bivalves, everything that is pretty as an adult and just has to be a parasite as larva, so Meloidae also fits in!
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I was also thinking of beetle larvae

https://bugtracks.wordpress.com/tag/triangulin/

but my experience is with Ripiphoridae. It’s an interesting evolution to lay your eggs on a flower and let the bee sabotage her own nest.

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First time we saw certain Sphinx Moth caterpillars on iNat, we thought they were a toy, like not a living creature. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/101146666

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I think Papilio cresphontes definitely fits the bill where the larva are not as pretty as the adult. However, I find them twice as interesting! Sometimes it pays to look like s*** (observation 126257250 below).

Later instars still look like crap, but they start to look like prettier crap (see observation 126257089 for comparison).

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crustacean larvae are funny, very funny and cute as these porcelain crab larvae


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This morning, beetle larvae on my orchid. The species is Lema pectoralis.

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Check out the top observations in this larva project

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Syrphid flies normally do not win any awards for cutest larvae (just the name Rat-tailed Maggot should tip you off why), but genus Microdon is an absolute delight. Look at that tiny face! (via this observation)

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I still think that the cutest larvae are the woolly bears (Pyrrharctia isabella).

And the most hideous larvae are the Myrmeleontidae.

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I think my favourite larvae I’ve met so far are the caterpillars of the dainty swallowtail butterfly, papilio anactus!





I caught a few of them from my citrus tree a few summers ago, kept them for observation, and successfully raised them all to maturity before releasing them. The butterflies were beautiful but I honestly think I might prefer the caterpillars… the little constellations of dots on them and the way their colours change from instar to instar is really beautiful to me, when I was keeping them I spent a lot of time just sitting and looking at them.

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Wow, too many to choose from. Lots of bizarre Lepiodptera examples. Longtime fave of mine is the caterpillar of Phyprosopus callitrichoides, the so-called Curved line owlwet moth. The larva looks like something from a Dr. Suess acid trip:

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