Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

  Sighting 551477

Western Grapeleaf Skeletonizer
Harrisina metallica

Observation date: August 11, 2011
Date notes: Sighting of hatched larva first occured on August 5th, 2011
Submitted by: james brandt
Specimen type: Photograph
Observation notes: Harrisina metallica discovered defoliating neighbors grapevine in San Diego. Within the span of 1-2 days well over a thousand have hatched and and appear on approximately 40% of leaves over the area of approximately 12 square feet. Two grape vines form the foliage that is trellised to make a canopy. Up to 70 or more on single leaves in organized clusters. The vast majority are approximately 5mm in length with around 10% being 1cm. The color pattern of the larva consists of instars broadly striped across blue and yellow with narrower black bands and a dense amount of hairs covers the superior part of the insects body. The harrisina metallica catepillars are gregariously feeding on undersides of leaves - skeletonizing the grape leaves. A progressive spreading out is occuring in terms of their density and are certain to defoliate the entire grapevine. This species moves quite rapidly and when a leaf in which they are feeding is taken off the vine within minutes they will begin seeking out new leaves with each caterpillar venturing off in a different direction.
Status: Resident
Verified by: kellyrichers
Verified date: July 10, 2012
Coordinator notes: You are correct. Kelly
Checklist region(s): United States, California, San Diego County