Currently viewing the category: "butterfly caterpillars"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Western Tiger Swallowtail
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
August 16, 2014 11:59 AM

We had to stop pulling weeds long enough to clean our hands and grab the camera.  Several Western Tiger Swallowtails were flying about the garden and nectaring from the plumbago on the neighbor’s hill.  It wasn’t so long ago that we lamented that we couldn’t get a decent image of the large Swallowtails sailing about as they never seemed to alight.

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Western Tiger Swallowtail

We even managed to get shots showing both ventral and dorsal surfaces.

Western Tiger Swallowtail

Western Tiger Swallowtail

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s this Caterpillar
Location: Lundar Beach, Manitoba, Canada
August 11, 2014 9:49 pm
Can you please help me identify this caterpillar? It was one of five found feeding on some Johnny-Jump-Ups /mini pansies. I saw one moult the skin around its head and antennae.nnHow long will it feed as a caterplillar before making a chrysalis, and then how long to be a butterfly or moth. Thank you for your help. I also found a milkweed bug nearby. It looks like a hex bug. I really like insects, spiders, snakes and frogs. My Noni photographs them for me.
Thank you.
Jayden
8 yrs old
Signature: Jayden

Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar

Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar

Dear Jayden,
This pretty caterpillar is a Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar, and it appears to be nearly fully grown, meaning it will soon metamorphose into a lovely metallic Variegated Fritillary ChrysalisBugGuide has some valuable information, including:  “Permanent resident in south. Annually spreads and colonizes northwards usaully to southern Canada. Rarely encountered north of Great Basin west of Rockies, and north of southern California near Pacific Coast.”  BugGuide also states:  “Multiple generations per year (up to two or three in north, and four or more overlapping broods in south). Only overwinters in southern states. Overwintering stage is debated, but definitely as larvae, which are often found under logs, boards, and rocks during cold, and will wander around looking for food on warm mid-winter days. Perhaps can overwinter in all stages, depending upon the climate of a particular region.”  We interpret all that to mean that the lovely Variegated Fritillary may not be a permanent resident in your area, perhaps because the winters are too harsh for overwintering caterpillars to survive, though with global warming, things may be changing.  BugGuide data indicates sightings for Saskatchewan and Manitoba to be September and October, so perhaps this individual will emerge as an adult in the next two months, and that any progeny may not survive your winter.

THANK YOU!  Yes. That is the caterpillar for sure. My Noni and I thought it was a Crescent Butterfly larva.  But that caterpillar wasn’t an exact match.  Now I want to put one of the caterpillars in my bug keeper to watch it make it’s chrysalis.
Jayden

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What type of caterpillar is this?
Location: Fairbanks Alaska
August 1, 2014 6:37 pm
Hey,
I live in Fairbanks, Alaska and this is the first time that I’ve seen one of these. We have a variety of butterflies and moths up here, but I’m not sure what species this particular one is. Any ideas?
Signature: Chris

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Chris,
This is one of the Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillars, and there are many regional species.  We have trouble distinguishing one caterpillar from another, so we are researching ranges to help determine the species.  According to TurtlePuddle on the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail,
Papilio canadensis:  “These large and beautiful butterflies have been unusually abundant throughout the Anchorage area this summer (2002). … They are usually found in or near deciduous or mixed forests. They overwinter in the chrysalis. They range across much of Canada, Alaska, and several other northern states of the US. Adults nectar on a wide variety of flowers.”  According to BugGuide, the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail ranges in:  “northern US, Alaska, and every province and territory of Canada, north to the tundra” and “larvae feed on a wide variety of plants, including ash, cherry, poplar, and willow.”  BugGuide also has images of the caterpillar.

That was fast, thanks dan!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Moth larvae group
Location: Chichen Itza, Yucatan
August 1, 2014 1:52 am
Hi
Can you identify this group of, what I guess are, moth larvae. These were in full view at the base of a tree at Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico.
Many thanks
Regards
Signature: Bernard Collen

Aggregation of Ruby Spotted Swallowtail Caterpillars

Aggregation of Ruby Spotted Swallowtail Caterpillars

Good morning Bernard,
Though this is behavior that a person with some knowledge of insects might suspect would indicate that these are moth caterpillars, this is actually an aggregation of Ruby Spotted Swallowtail Caterpillars.  The Ruby Spotted Swallowtail is a lovely butterfly.  This social behavior is likely a survival strategy.

Aggregation of Ruby Spotted Swallowtail Caterpillars

Aggregation of Ruby Spotted Swallowtail Caterpillars

Thanks, Daniel, I am surprised!  I had assumed they were moth larvae.
Thanks again for your prompt reply
Best regards
Bernard

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Morning Cloak Caterpillars?
Location: Saint John, NB Canada
July 30, 2014 6:40 am
I found this congregation of caterpillars on the branch of my willow tree last night. This morning they had abandoned that branch, leaving clumps of black, and had relocated to a higher branch. I am located in Saint John, NB Canada and have never encountered these before. Based on what I’ve seen on the internet, I believe they are Mourning Cloak Caterpillars but I was hoping someone could confirm that makes sense. I’m also wondering if these are dangerous and should heed any warnings. I’m not a creepy crawly fan so I haven’t gotten too close but I’ve taken a couple of photos zoomed in as much as possible.
Signature: Jennifer

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar Aggregation

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar Aggregation

Hi Jennifer,
Though you image lacks critical detail, there are enough similarities to presume these are Mourning Cloak Caterpillars.  Your very descriptive account of the sighting supports that supposition as willow is a common food plant.  Mourning Cloak Caterpillars frequently feed in a group, known as an aggregation, a more accepted term for a group of caterpillars than the term congregation.  Mourning Cloak Caterpillars are not considered dangerous, but the spines can cause a painful prick if they are carelessly handled.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: butterflies
Location: Middleville, Michigan
July 25, 2014 12:01 pm
These Beauties are new to my yard this year. I believe they belong to a checkerspot.
Signature: Teri

Baltimore Checkerspot Caterpillar

Baltimore Checkerspot Caterpillar

He Teri,
We agree that your caterpillar looks exactly like a Baltimore Checkerspot Caterpillar,
Euphydryas phaeton, posted to BugGuide, and the chrysalis also looks like a Baltimore Checkerspot Chrysalis posted to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “The primary larval food source is turtlehead (Chelone glabra), although recent studies have shown that the caterpillars will eat a larger variety of plant species including English plantain (Plantago lanceolata), a common yard weed.”  The plant you have documented with the caterpillar appears to be plantain, based on the images on the USDA site. 

Baltimore Checkerspot Chrysalis

Baltimore Checkerspot Chrysalis

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination