caterpillar id and behavior explanation
Hello. I was in a swampy woods in northwest Indiana when I came across a group of caterpillars in a very strange arrangement. There were approximately 20 in the group, and they were all congregated together, but more interestingly their arrangement was exactly symmetrical. I’ve attached a photo. Can you tell me what these caterpillars are and what they’re doing? The closest I can come using a caterpillar ID book is Gulf Fritillary, but I think I may be a bit out of their range. Thanks,
This behavior is consistant with caterpillars in the genus Datana, but there are no images on BugGuide that exactly match this coloration. Identifying the food plant might help with an identification.
Thanks for getting back to me. The caterpillars that I saw were on Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry). I’m guessing Datana ministra?