I’ve been beset by a lot of caterpillars recently, some desirable – swallowtail, gulf fritillary, etc., and some not – hornworms, tomato pinworms, etc.
Now these. Are they good? Or are they bad? They are eating a member of the Malvaceae family that was happily minding its own business in my yard, abutilon incanum. And by the looks of it, they will strip the plant down to nubs in a day or two.
As I expected it would, searching on Google for “purple caterpillars” yielded a lot of hookah and Alice references. But there’s some suggestion on sites I’ve looked at that these are members of the cibex genus – a sawfly. But the exact type is not very clear to me yet. If it is a sawfly, it’s more related to wasps and ants than it is to butterflies.
Bad photo, I know. If they haven’t left by tomorrow morning, I’ll get a better one with the micro lens.