Subject: Unidentified crawling object
Location: Tokyo, Japan
July 30, 2012 8:37 pm
My daughter and I found this Caterpillar on my slippers. We liked it so much we decided to keep it. After much research on what type of spices it was we came up with nothing. As of only one day with us I believe it has either started to build its cocoon or molt? I’m not sure. Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you so much
Signature: Shane and Hayden Silva
Dear Shane and Hayden,
This is the caterpillar and chrysalis of the Australian Fritillary, Argyreus hyperbius, but the path that took us to that discovery was a bit convoluted. We first recognized that the correct family is Nymphalidae, the Brush Footed Butterflies, but our searching of caterpillars from Japan did not prove fruitful. We decided to see if we could at least determine the butterfly species from that family that are found in Japan and we were led to this FlickR page of Nymphalidae in Japan, and upon checking the species one by one by combining the scientific name and caterpillar in the search engine, we eventually found this photo of your caterpillar on Thaibugs. The entire life cycle is depicted on the Butterfly House website where it is called the Australian Fritillary, but the image of the caterpillar is very contrasty and the colors do not show very well. Learn About Butterflies calls this the Indian Fritillary and we have a nice photo of an adult female Indian Fritillary from Japanin our own archives.