The Garden Guide

Book: The Principles of Landscape Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 1: Entomology as Applied to Gardens

The larva or caterpillar

Previous - Next

1614. The larva, or caterpillar, is the first active state of insects. The forms which distinguish those of the different tribes are numerous and varied; but none are provided with wings. They are known in common language by the names of grub, caterpillar, palmer-worm, maggot, and wireworm. These names, if confined to particular tribes, may be retained with advantage; thus, caterpillars should be understood as applicable only to the larvï¾µ of lepidopterous insects, as butterflies, hawk-moths, and moths, and certain hymenopterous insects having similarly formed larvï¾µ. Palmer-worms are usually hairy caterpillars of the moth tribe, and therefore this name may be disused. Grubs are the larvï¾µ of beetles; they are generally thick, fat, and misshapen; often of a whitish hue (from their living in other bodies), and each is provided with a distinct head, strong jaws, and generally with three pairs of feet. The grub of the cockchafer (fig. 280. b) and of the insect called the wireworm (fig. 281. a) are good examples of these larvï¾µ. (The grubs of the nut weevil, and of the other numerous species of the tribe to which that beetle belongs, are destitute of legs, and consequently come under the popular name of maggots. It is, in fact, impossible to restrict such popular names as the above within systematical limits. (W.)) Maggots are soft, and semitransparent; generally producing flies (Muscï¾µ), or other two-winged insects (Diptera); they move along by the action of the body on the ground, having no rudiments of feet: their heads are very small; and many species, such as the maggots found in putrid animal substances, cheese, &c., live by suction. The larvï¾µ of bees, ants, &c. are also popularly called maggots. The name of wireworm has been improperly applied to the larvï¾µ (fig. 281. b) of the crime flies, Tipulidï¾µ (fig. 292. a, c), of which there are numerous species; they resemble maggots, but are much more slender, and generally reside among the roots of grass and aquatic vegetables: in the pupa state (figs. 279. f, and 281. c), they have the general form of those of lepidopterous insects. The larvï¾µ of some tribes, as the locust and the grasshopper, differ very little from the perfect insect, except in being destitute of wings, the rudiments of which only are discernible; while the spider, and many other wingless insects, emerge from the egg in their perfect form. As examples of the most usual appearance of larvï¾µ, we may cite the grubs of the cockchafer (fig. 280. b), and of the nut beetle (c, d), and of the bacon beetle (f), in the same figure; the caterpillar of the cabbage (fig. 286. a) and of the turnip butterflies (d); the maggots of the common flesh-fly (fig. 293. c, d), of the cheese fly or hopper (h), and of the bot and gadflies (fig. 291. c, e).