Mystery Caterpillar on Curly/Corkscrew Willow
June 23, 2010
There are quite a few of these on a curly willow in my yard in Central Arkansas, USA. Just noticed them today (June 23). They’re munching out on the willow… there are some others that are a darker brown color, but otherwise look the same. Any ideas?
Amy The Bug Girl
Little Rock, AR, USA

Viceroy Caterpillar

Hi Amy,
This is a Red Spotted Purple Caterpillar, Limenitis arthemis.  BugGuide has a fine example that documents the metamorphosis of the caterpillar to an adult.

Yay! I am so excited!
I usually get monarchs on my butterfly weed, so I’m excited to have a new visitor on the willow this year!
What’s funny is, the willow was in a flower arrangment that I got in the early spring – just the bare, curly twigs.  It started to root & leaf out, and I hated to throw it out, so I just stuck it down in some planters outside & it’s been very happy there! I’m glad it’s proven to be a host plant for such a beautiful butterfly.
Thanks for your quick reply!

Imposter! Actually, it was a Viceroy!
July 3, 2010
Hi Bugman,
I sent you a question that you kindly answered back on June 24, about a mystery caterpillar on the curly willow in our yard. We’d determined it was a Red Spotted Purple (and it did look just like that caterpillar). Well, imagine my surprise when I went out into the garden early this morning to find a dozen+ VICEROY butterflies! I am attaching some photos for you 🙂
Amy The Bug Girl
Little Rock, AR, USA

Viceroy: Newly Metamorphosed

Hi Amy,
First, we apologize for our misidentification of your Viceroy Caterpillar last month.  In our defense, the Viceroy,
Limenitis archippus, and the Red Spotted Purple, Limenitis arthemis astyanax, are in the same genus and their caterpillars look very similar.  We especially like that your one photo shows the Chrysalis below the newly emerged adult butterfly.  It is also wonderful that you provided us with views of both the open and closed wings.


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

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