Red-Spotted Purple Caterpillar?
I thoroughly enjoyed going through all 5 caterpillar pages. What an education! I thought maybe I’d found a rare caterpillar because I didn’t see anything resembling it until the last page. Whatever it is, it is one strange looking critter! Is my ID right? What does it turn into? This was in some sort of willow, I think, growing at the water’s edge on the dam of our pond in Powhatan, VA.

Hi Linda,
We admire your tenacity, looking through all five of our Caterpillar pages. Your identification is correct. This is a Red Spotted Purple Caterpillar. We have photos of the adult butterflies on our two butterfly pages.

Viceroy vs. Red-Spotted Purple
My extension agent said the caterpillar that I submitted (image included) is a Viceroy. I googled for Viceroy and I see that they are similar to the Purple. How do you tell the difference?

Hi Linda,
We don’t believe we can distinguish for certain between the two. We will see if Thomas from Madison has an opinion.

The Limenitis caterpillar problem (05/21/2006)
Dear Daniel and Lisa Anne,
Regarding your question about the published Limenitis caterpillar (Red Spotted Purple versus Viceroy) from May 12, I tend to think that it is a Viceroy, because of its long horns. However, the caterpillar of the Viceroy is extremely similar in shape to a subspecies of the Red Spotted Purple, namely Limenitis arthemis arizonensis. The fact that Viceroy caterpillars vary in their colour makes it very hard to distinguish these two from each other. (See the link below). I have been breeding butterflies and moths for 25 years now, but most of them are European species, and unfortunately I haven’t had Viceroy caterpillars or L.a. arizonensis in my hands yet. So I can’t tell for sure, what the exact species is on the photograph. The best thing to do in this case would be to breed the caterpillar until the butterfly hatches.
Best regards,

Helpful Comment
Viceroy vs Red-spotted Purple caterpillars
July 3, 2010
Photos partly down this page shows the difference between the two caterpillars.
Viceroy caterpillars have more spikes on their humps on their backs. Red Spotted-purple caterpillar have very minimal humps on their backs.
Love your site!
Edith Smith

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.