Monarch – Different Instars?
Location: Fort Myers, Florida
December 20, 2010 11:10 am
Greetings from sunny (but cold) Florida! I was suprised to find I still have monarch caterpillars even after the almost freezing weather this past week. However, I also noticed another caterpillar that looked very similar – but the black, yellow, and white bands are different. They are both on the milkweed, but the look-alike’s black bands seem more prominent. I’ve watched over the last couple of days, and the look-alike doesn’t seem to be changing the bands as he gets bigger. Is this a different butterfly, or just a different stage of the monarch I haven’t seen before?
Just as some people have brown hair and others red or blond hair, there is often individual variation among insects of the same species. We do not see anything unusual in the variations you point out and it is our opinion that these are two Monarch Caterpillars. Thanks for your question and also for your wonderful photograph.