What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

SoCal Caterpillar, Agraulis vanillae?
Location: La Crescenta/Montrose California
March 14, 2012 3:45 pm
Hi Bugman! I came across a caterpillar today and tried figuring out what it was. Due to just moving here from Florida, I’m sure my area has tons of new bugs (including the giant black widow I found a while back!!) It looked like an Agraulis vanillae BUT it’s a bit different. It’s black/gray with 2 tight red/orange striped along its back. The spikes are NOT clumps of hairs, but actual single spikes.
I took 2 photos. 1 is on the concrete of my porch where I found it. The other is where I put it; a white rose tree.
Please forgive my photos. All I had near me was my phone, but I think the photos are good enough.
Signature: Thank you!

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar

Though your caterpillar resembles that of the Gulf Fritillary, Agraulis vanillae, it is actually that of a Mourning Cloak, a lovely large purplish, black butterfly with creamy wing edges and blue spots.  Mourning Cloak Caterpillars feed on native willows but they are very content to feed upon the leaves of cultivated Chinese elm as well.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: California

2 Responses to Mourning Cloak Caterpillar

  1. zach rediess says:

    My neighbor and friend of my sons came by today with a new friend! We looked it up and it was a Mourning Cloak Moth Caterpillar!He and my boy were excited to see what it was going to change into and what it will eat.You guys were dead on with munchies for him,he went straight to it!Lol Thank you for this great informational site!Keep up the amazing job,I use this to teach in my neighborhood and to create a sense of wonder with Nature with the Kids! Living in Eau Claire Wisconsin we have found alot of “global warming” bugs and this helps to figure out the weirder ones.I will recommend this to EVERY parent for those harder to ask bug questions—Zach Rediess

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