We have a couple of new insects in their larval stages in the yard this week. Both look like caterpillars (larvae of butterflies and moths) but one type is actually sawfly larvae.
According to Jim Sogaard in his book Moths & Caterpillars of the North Woods, the caterpillar feeds on plants in the Aster family, prefering the flowers over the leaves and the pupa then overwinters underground.The adult moth is a non descript light brown color about 1.5 inches in length.
The are often found in clusters on the underside of dogwood leaves curled up.
This larvae changes in appearance during its instar (larval) stages, looking whitish with a powdery coating to a bright yellow with dark markings (Penn State Fact Sheet).
According to the fact sheet cited above, the damage rarely kills the plant because the feeding is late in the season.
Like the caterpillars above, these larvae overwinter on the ground in rotting wood.