manitoba caterpillar with 3 possible ids, and a wonderful evening of butterflies
September 12, 2011
Hello there.  Here’s a pic of a long and skinny little guy/gal which we found in abundance during last Saturday, in the area of Oak Hammock Marsh – a wildlife preserve/marsh habitat near Winnipeg in Manitoba.  Along the narrow trail we’d encounter one or two crossing the way every metre or so (and boy are they quick) – we had to walk very carefully.
Incidently, the butterflies we encountered in the same area were exclusively white, with and without spots (not sure which variety) with a sprinkling of sulphurs.  All were around 1-1.5 inch in width.  It was a warm and breezy evening, almost sunset, and the flutter of their little wings tickled us as we disturbed them from the yellow and purple clovers still blooming on the trail.  There were thousands and, like we were in some dream, we lifted our arms up to touch them – it was heavenly….
Therefore, I also send a pic of the trail we were on.  You can see the butterflies – though none of my pictures from that day really do the abundance any justice….
My caterpillar ID tries came to 3 possibles:
Anthocharis midea
Cucullia alfarata
Trichordestra legitima
…..I’m not sure it’s any of these because they all lack the pattern between the stripes.
Another caterpillar breeding in this area regularly and on the same trail that day was the woolly bear – the one with the red/brown band in the middle.  But, it was tiny and we saw only one. (can you tell us what the 2 red things are in the front of it’s face?)
Thank you kindly bug guys,

Zebra Caterpillar

Dear M.M.,
We can’t imagine how long you spent online to get three species that are similar looking, but not exact matches to your Zebra Caterpillar,
Melanchra picta, which we initially posted nearly a year ago.  According to BugGuide:  “larvae feed on alfalfa, cabbage, carrot, clover, dandelion, dock (Rumex spp.), pea, pigweed (Amaranthus spp.), strawberry, sweetfern, blackberry, blueberry, hazel, apple, birch, cherry, plum, willow.”  That is a lovely meadow for butterflies.  The blossoms are not very showy, but they are just the type of flowers that butterflies are really attracted to for nectaring.

Meadow with Butterflies

Thank you – seemingly now the answer is everywhere….duh!  I guess I’m not the only one up at night looking up bugs…  Obviously my research needs some work. 🙁
Thank you kindly, it’s always good to have that ID, even if it’s something obvious to others.  I kept saying to myself – “it looks like a zebra…..”
Yes, the marsh and trails were wonderful, though the marsh has really dried up to 2/3rd’s it’s size due to the constant heat and little rain we’ve been having.  Alot of it is now just a bog, and the birds are standing in the little water that is left.  But, I’m sure that will change as we usually get some good rain in the fall here.
The Tiger Moth I had already knew from previous “successful” research, but the red things must be mites…

Isabella Tiger Moth Caterpillar

Hi again MM,
WE aren’t certain what is on the Woolly Bear of the Isabella Tiger Moth.  Perhaps they are mites, but we are more inclined to think they might be the pupae of some parasite.

Location: Canada

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