What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Gulf Fritillary Caterpillars?
Location: Baker, Florida
September 7, 2012 10:00 am
My 6 year old daughter, Ocean Rose, had this very special find in our backyard on September 2, 2012. I’m thinking they may be Gulf Fritillary Caterpillars (because we have alot of those butterflies around here) but wasnt quite sure.
Signature: Heather

Prominent Caterpillars: Datana species

Dear Heather,
Gulf Fritillary Caterpillars only feed on Passionflower vines.  These are Prominent Moth Caterpillars in the genus
Datana, but the different species in the genus have similar looking caterpillars and there is also much variability within each species with regard to markings and coloration.  The posture they assume, with both head and tail end arched above the middle is typical of Datana caterpillars when they are disturbed.  If we knew what plant they were feeding upon, we might be able to determine the species.  See BugGuide for additional information on the genus Datana.

Datana species Caterpillars

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

One Response to Prominent Caterpillars in genus Datana

  1. Susan says:

    Does Datana perspicua feed on willow oak? I found a huge cluster of caterpillars a short while ago on a large willow oak tree. They demonstrated the behavior descibed above when I prodded the branch. I live in Gloucester Co., VA (Tidewater region). I have not noticed this particular caterpillar before. Will they harm the tree? Can I expect a bigger crop next year? Thanks!

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