A few of you with eagle eyes have been asking about this unique-looking caterpillar feeding in soybean. The green body and dark head capsule definitely make it stand out compared to other green caterpillars. It’s the obliquebanded leafroller (Choristoneura rosaceana), a tortricid moth. There have been sightings of obliquebanded leafroller from southern Iowa to southern Minnesota this year.
Larvae feed on a wide range of host plants, particularly species within the Rosaceae family (e.g., apple, peach, pear). They will also feed on soybean. The caterpillars wiggle backwards and often drop from plants when disturbed. Older instars will roll leaves together to form protective nests, similar to thistle caterpillars. This species would not be considered an economic pest in Iowa.