Currently viewing the category: "Butterflies and Skippers"

Gulf Fritillary larva and butterfly
I live in Ventura California and saw this caterpillar in a local park a few months ago (early spring). I thought it was a Gulf Fritillary larva until I saw a confirmed Gulf Fritillary larva on your website. Mine looks redder and does not have a orange head. What does it eat? I can’t find this butterfly in any of my family’s bug books, can you help identify it? thanks for your help,
Andrew Strauss

Hi Andrew,
Both your caterpillar and butterfly are Gulf Fritillaries, Agraulis vanillae. The caterpillar feeds exclusively on Passion Vine. The adults take nectar. Hogue describes the caterpillars as slate gray or purple on the back with burnt orange stripes on the sides.

Caterpillar ID
Hi,
I live in South Florida.
I’ve been ‘searching and squishing’ Tomato Hornworm caterpillars on my tomato plants for over a month now. (Resisting temptation to use poisons). I’m sending you a quite nice photo I took of one before the squish, in case you want it for your site. Today I found a large, superficially similar caterpillar on my fig tree. I know it’s not the same. But what is it? I’m including two photos of the ‘fig caterpillar’. I suspect it’s a butterfly. I’ve included a photo of a pair of one species I found mating there, and two of another butterfly that spent a lot of time in the tree. The lone butterfly is a species I’d never even seen before. The tree can well spare a few leaves, and there’s only one of these caterpillars as far as I can tell, so I’ve left it alone. I’m curious to know what it is and if you can identify the butterflies as well, that would be lovely.
Marian Mendez

Hi Marian,
We are very excited to receive your letter and your wonderful photographs.Your mating butterflies are Julias, Dryas iulia. They are common in Florida. The host plant for caterpillars is the Passion Flower Vine. We will also be including this image in our new Love Among Bugs page. Also check out Marion’s Caterpillars.

Thanks! Yes, you may put my photos on your site wherever you decide they fit. I’ve got a whole series I took of that mating pair of heliconias (I’m glad to know their name!) including a couple of ‘face close-ups’ that turned out very pretty. If you think you would like to see them, I’ll reduce the best ones down to a reasonable emailing size & send them to you. Hmm…I’ve got numerous photos of ladybugs mating. Ladybugs were *all* over the place this year and in an incredible variety of colors and patterns, ranging from M&M tan to black with red spots, to one fairly ‘normal’ one who spots were heart-shaped. I intend some day to put up a page on my little website just to show their variety, but I wouldn’t mind if you had the use of them too, if you want them. I’ve a few pictures of other types of caterpillars & butterflies (all my photos have been taken in my yard in So. Florida this year & I doubt there are any rarities). If you think you might like them, I’ll sort through for the clearest ones of each species. I have some nice photos of dung beetles here. If you could use any of these, you’re welcome to have them. (It’s quite possible I misidentified their sex & species – I didn’t think it mattered much on my site that’s mainly seen by friends & family.)
Love, Marian

Caterpillar ID
Hi,
I live in South Florida.
I’ve been ‘searching and squishing’ Tomato Hornworm caterpillars on my tomato plants for over a month now. (Resisting temptation to use poisons). I’m sending you a quite nice photo I took of one before the squish, in case you want it for your site. Today I found a large, superficially similar caterpillar on my fig tree. I know it’s not the same. But what is it? I’m including two photos of the ‘fig caterpillar’. I suspect it’s a butterfly. I’ve included a photo of a pair of one species I found mating there, and two of another butterfly that spent a lot of time in the tree. The lone butterfly is a species I’d never even seen before. The tree can well spare a few leaves, and there’s only one of these caterpillars as far as I can tell, so I’ve left it alone. I’m curious to know what it is and if you can identify the butterflies as well, that would be lovely.
Marian Mendez

Ruddy Daggerwing Julia Butterflies Mating


Hi Marian,
We are very excited to receive your letter and your wonderful photographs. Your single butterfly is a Ruddy Daggerwing, Marpesia petreus. They also have caterpillars that eat the leaves of figs. Your mating butterflies are Julias, Dryas iulia. They are common in Florida. The host plant for caterpillars is the Passion Flower Vine. We will also be including this image in our new Love Among Bugs page. Also check out Marian’s Caterpillars.

butterfly
Hello again Bugman,
I like this subject better than the roach picture I just sent. What kind of pretty butterfly is this? We live in NC.
Nancy

Hi Nancy,
This is one of the Sulphur Butterflies in the genus Colias. It appears as though yellow spots in the black wing border are visible through the wings, indicating she is female, and the slight orange color indicated most probably the Alfalfa Butterfly, Colias eurytheme.

Some Kinda Swallowtail
Hi there,
This beauty was on my Chicago area butterfly bush this morning. Do you know which variety this is?
Many thanks,
Joe

Hi Joe,
This is a Black Swallowtail, a female judging by her small yellow spots. This is a common butterfly found in open meadows. The larval food include parsley, carrots, celery and Queen Anne’s Lace.

nice pic
Just thought you would like this pic. Took it the other day in Belton, Texas
Alma Jo

Hi Alma Jo,
It really is a swell photo of a Tiger Swallowtail. We don’t seem to be able to get them to pose in our yard. They inevatably fly away the minute we appear with a camera.