Spiky orange caterpillar
June 9, 2010
Sending one more picture that might be a little less fuzzy. — My daughter and I found these caterpillars crawling all over the pansies last week. We put them in a bug keeper and all but one have cocooned. They are about one inch long, with orange and white stripes and black spikes. One of the cocoons is in the background of the picture. It is greenish-gray with orange spots. Any idea what they are? Thanks so much!
Kim and Katie (age 4)
Hi Kim and Katy,
It appears that your third caterpillar is also about to form a chrysalis. These are the immature forms of the Variegated Fritillary, Euptoieta claudia, and in a few weeks, you should be treated to the emergence of lovely orange butterflies. You can see images of the adult butterfly on BugGuide. BugGuide indicates the following food plants: “Larvae feed on Passionvine (Passiflora), Violets & Pansy (Viola, Flax Linum, Moonseed (Menispermum), Mayapple (Podophyllum), Stonecrop (Sedum), Purslane (Portulaca) and others. Adults are fond of flowers, and especially seem to like Thistles and yellow Composites. They also frequently visit damp ground.” Since we will be out of the office between June 15 and June 23, we are presetting a few letters to post during our absence so that our readership will continue to get daily updates. You letter is set to post live to our website on June 22.