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A small chunk of leaves fell off of a potted tomato plant. We noticed our cats taking an interest in it once it started moving. Then a little caterpillar poked its head out. What kind of bug is this and should we worry about our plant?

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    $\begingroup$ Can you describe its size or take a photo with something for scale? $\endgroup$ – arboviral Jul 1 '17 at 21:24
  • $\begingroup$ I apologize, the bug moved shortly after I took the picture and now I can't find it. It was pretty small. The pictures above probably show about 1cm of its body poking out and the diameter of the bug is less than half a cm, I would say. $\endgroup$ – Nick Criswell Jul 3 '17 at 16:58
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    $\begingroup$ Larvae making these sort of cases out of found material is typical for Bagworm Moths (Psychidae), but I don't know what species you have in Missouri. But it's a start if you don't get an answer here. $\endgroup$ – picapica Jul 3 '17 at 20:45
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This is the larvae (caterpillar) of a bagworm moth (family Psychidae).

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Source: Wikimedia Commons; Credit: Bernard DUPONT

From Wikipedia:

The caterpillar larvae of the Psychidae construct cases out of silk and environmental materials such as sand, soil, lichen, or plant materials.

There are about 240 genera, so I will leave IDing to lower taxonomic levels up to you. However, based on the striations of the caterpillar and your lcoation, the Evergreen Bagworm Moth doesn't seem like a bad guess...

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