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That's probably the beast, Kathleen.  As you noted, there's apparently
considerable variation in the coloration of the larvae.  The book I have (a
Princeton guide also by David L. Wagner) shows a pale green larva with
setae almost exactly like the caterpillar we had in hand.  Wagner states
that prepupal forms of daggers often turn pink or red, "especially those
that tunnel into wood to to fashion a pupal chamber."  There are also
melanistic forms, which might account for the black head (which also could
have been a dark reddish brown.)  That the larva might have been looking
for a soft chunk of wood would make sense, because my grandson found it on
the ground, and when I let it go it preferred being in the understory.

Thanks much !

b

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