Subject: Caterpillar ID
Location: Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico
November 7, 2014 5:56 pm
I took this picture today in Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico. Here it is November 7th. The temperature is around 70 degrees even though it is winter here. I have close to 40 or more of these caterpillars on a climbing vine in my backyard. I have noticed orange moths or butterflies around them once or twice. Any idea what they could be? I have no intention of getting rid of them but want to know if I should keep children away from them.
Signature: Maria V.
Dear Maria V.,
We feel confident that these are Brush-Footed Butterfly Caterpillars from the family Nymphalidae, but we are not certain of the species. Are you able to provide us with the name of the vine they are feeding upon? Often knowing the food plant is an excellent way to search for the identity of an insect that is feeding. Meanwhile, we will attempt to contact Keith Wolfe to see if he recognizes these caterpillars. We do not believe they pose any threat to your children, though the spines may be prickly.
I managed to get an ID from a local butterfly expert about 45 minutes ago. They are Dione Juno caterpillars and they are feeding on a Passion flower vine. Completely harmless. I am excitedly watching them and hope to have butterflies in about 20 days. You guys are awesome and let me know if you want any insects in this area tracked down, photographed, or any other way I can help. I will totally be donating!!
Thanks for all the awesome work you do 🙂
Thanks for letting us know. Them being Longwings in the tribe Heliconiini makes sense because we thought they looked similar to Gulf Fritillary Caterpillars, a related species.