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Cabbage Looper - Garden Insect Library - Saferbrand

Cabbage Loopers

Named for the unusual way it walks, the caterpillar propels itself forward by drawing its back legs toward its front legs, creating almost a circular loop, and then extending itself again.

 

Cabbage loopers feed not only on cabbage, but also on a wide range of plants. Look for leaves with big, odd-shaped holes and heads of cabbage with pieces eaten out of the heads.

 

 

 

 

So... What's a Cabbage Looper?

The cabbage looper in the caterpillar (larvae) stage is a light green color and ranges between 1 1/2"-2" in length.

 

Named for the unusual way it walks, the caterpillar propels itself forward by drawing its back legs toward its front legs, creating almost a circular loop, and then extending itself again. This is often shown in cartoons of caterpillars and inchworms.

 

In the moth stage, these insects are grayish-brown in color and have silvery markings on the wings.

 

 

 

 

Reproduction Patterns of Cabbage Loopers

The cabbage looper exists in the pupal stage during the winter, its cocoon fastened to a plant. When it exits the cocoon in Spring, it flies to a nearby plant where it will lay hundreds of light green eggs on the plant's leaves. The eggs will hatch in anywhere between 3-10 days, depending on the temperature and climate of the region.

 

cabbage looper

When the tiny caterpillars appear, they will go through several mini-stages called instars. These instars will take up to 4 weeks after which it will spin its cocoon for its pupal stage. Within two weeks, the adult cabbage looper moth will emerge from the cocoons, unless it will be spending the winter in the cocoon in the pupal stage.

 

 

 

 

Cabbage Looper's Habitat

The cabbage looper is found throughout the United States and the southern regions of Canada. In the adult stage, it is a moth that is nocturnal and can often be seen flying around outdoor lights.

 

In the caterpillar stage, it is found in gardens where it can cause quite a bit of damage to a variety of crops, most notably those of the cabbage family, as its name implies.

 

 

 

 

Images courtesy of Oklahoma State University and Forestry Images.
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