Subject: Can’t quite identify this caterpillar
December 2, 2014 1:19 pm
Hello, I found this guy sitting outside my house and decided to take a picture, upon trying to identify him I ran into some trouble as the closest I could find was the Buck Moth Larvae or the Spiny Elm Caterpillar but both of these describe spots as the primary pattern and my buddy here has what seem to be long white and orange stripes, which is a feature neither have mentioned! I live in central Florida.
Signature: -Curiouser and Curiouser
Dear Curiouser and Curiouser,
This looks like a Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar, Agraulis vanillae, a species that feeds on the leaves of passionflower vines, and it is generally not found far from the food plants. This is a color variation with lavendar stripes and according to BugGuide: “Larvae are generally orange with black branched spines and greenish-black stripes. There is a larval variant with purple/lavender stripes, seen mostly in Texas.” Adult Gulf Fritillaries are pretty orange butterflies with silver spots.