Case Bearer

While scouting for my first Bugging Out insect walk at Green-Wood Cemetery this year yesterday, I tried to photograph these tiny encased caterpillars dangling from silk lines from a Japanese Larch. When I brought the group by, there weren’t as many visible, and a couple of the attendees spotted them before me. They’re about 5-6mm long.

It looks like this a caterpillar of the Larch Case-bearing Moth, Coleophora laricella. The larvae clip off the ends of larch needles, burrow into them, and use them as protective cases. Perhaps they get wind-tossed out of the branches and work their way back up on their safety silk line, or else they’re repelling down?

3 Responses to “Case Bearer”

  1. 1 Charles (Beep!) May 8, 2023 at 7:28 pm

    Good photo!
    Does iNaturalist suggest anything?
    When in doubt check with Tom Murray…
    Are you in contact with him?

    • 2 mthew May 8, 2023 at 8:16 pm

      It’s at Research Grade on iNat…

      • 3 Charles (Beep!) May 8, 2023 at 9:09 pm

        Advice is worth what you pay for it… lol!
        I’d prefer if iNat’s model required three confirmations before declaring the lofty “research grade”.
        Perhaps a mid-grade of “In Progress”?
        Some of my observations have been corrected after several rounds… try posting any Spiranthes and you’ll see what I mean.
        Contact Tom Murray at He’ll be your catalyst for either a good discussion or an ID.

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