Location: Las Barracas, Baja California Sur, Mexico
January 27, 2013 4:38 pm
Greetings Mr. Bugman!
Can you please identify this beauty who was just making his way across the brick pathway outside my kitchen? He is just a little over 3 inches long. I gently relocated him to the brush before a bird saw him and figured he would be a tasty snack. Thanks in advance! Wendy from Southern Baja California, Mexico.
We believe this caterpillar is in the subfamily Apaturinae, the Emperors. You can see many similar North American examples on BugGuide. We will contact Keith Wolfe to see if he is able to provide a species identification.
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I followed the link you sent and it certainly seems that is is indeed a caterpillar in the Apaturinae subfamily, and a very colorful one at that.
Keith Wolfe provides a correction: Orange Owl Caterpillar
Wendy, this is a wandering Orange Owl/Owlet (Opsiphanes boisduvallii, subfamily Satyrinae, which feeds on palms) in search of a safe place to pupate. Here’s what it looked like before onset of the faded coloration and transformation that follows . . .
. . . and fyi on a useful butterfly checklist:
http://www.mexicobirding.com/about/documents/ButterflyChecklist_Baja_2009.pdf. Daniel, though Emperor (Apaturinae) caterpillars are rather similar, please scroll down
http://butterfliesofamerica.com/t/Apaturinae_a.htm to see the many differences.
Dear Keith and Daniel,
Thanks so much for the positive identification: Orange Owl Caterpillar.
Bugs (and birds) are fascinating to me. You have both made this 55 year old woman feel like a little kid at Christmas!