Subject: Gold speckled caterpillar?
Location: Puerto Lopez, Ecuador
April 5, 2015 7:39 pm
This beautiful creature was climbing on a bamboo pole about 4 feet off the ground near our house. The pictures don’t do it justice; the gold specks on it’s back looked like they were reflecting – almost mineral like. It’s about one inch long.
We saw it at about 11:00a EDT on Easter Sunday (April 5th), and it didn’t move in the 20 or so minutes that we were watching it. Tonight (9:30p), it is no longer there.
Our house is 49m above sea level and about one km to the ocean. After two years of drought, we’ve had rain almost nightly during the past week. This morning, about three hours before seeing this guy, we had three inches of rain in four hours.
(I don’t know if all of this information is useful, but I thought I’d provide as much detail as possible.)
Signature: Scott Bloomquist
This is not a caterpillar, but rather a Chrysalis, and in our opinion, it is classified in the Brush Footed Butterfly family Nymphalidae. It resembles the chrysalis of a Variegated Fritillary, Euptoieta claudia, a North American species that is also found in South America, according to BugGuide. We suspect your chrysalis is closely related. We will contact Keith Wolfe to get his opinion.
Thank you, Daniel. It was still there today, 24 hours later.
I’ll look up the names that you provided; I appreciate the information.
Keith Wolfe Responds
Buenas tardes Scott and Daniel,
Good eye/memory, Bugman! This is indeed a fritillary-in-waiting, specifically a pupa of the Mexican Fritillary (Euptoieta hegesia). Here are two links of hopeful interest . . .
I have updated the posting with the links you provided. I thought it looked like the genera-mate Variegated Fritillary.