Currently viewing the category: "butterfly caterpillars"

Subject:  caterpillar id?
Geographic location of the bug:  oakland california
Date: 08/23/2021
Time: 07:17 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  my red buckwheat in the oakland hills has these small caterpillars on them.  Any idea what they are?
How you want your letter signed:  Alex

Unknown Gossamer Wing Caterpillar

Dear Alex,
This is the Caterpillar of a Gossamer Winged Butterfly in the family Lycaenidae, but we are not certain of the species.  It might be one of the Hairstreaks like this BugGuide image of a Gray Hairstreak Caterpillar on Buckwheat, or it might be one of the Blues, like this BugGuide image of a Square Spotted Blue Caterpillar also on BuckWheat.

Unknown Gossamer Wing Caterpillar

Thank you for the ID!

Subject:  Yellow Swallowtail Chrysalizing
Geographic location of the bug:  West Los Angeles
Date: 08/10/2021
Time: 11:35 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman,
I decided to protect a few yellow swallowtail caterpillars from the wasps that patrol my yard, so I put them in a small tank. All four of them have now chrysalized.
By the way, are chrysalizing and chrysalized real words?
How you want your letter signed:  Jeff Bremer

Anise Swallowtail Caterpillar and Chrysalides

Hey Jeff,
You are the one who brought up questions about etymology, the study of words, as well as entomology, the study of insects.   Before we answer your question, we want to address some other etymology.  Let’s start with “Yellow Swallowtails” because these look like early stages of Anise Swallowtails and you have called Anise Swallowtails by the name Yellow Swallowtails in prior submissions.   According to iNaturalist:  “
Papilio zelicaon, the anise swallowtail, is a common swallowtail butterfly of western North America. Both the upper and lower sides of its wings are black, but the upper wing has a broad yellow stripe across it, giving the butterfly an overall yellow appearance. There are striking blue spots on the rear edge of the rear wing, and the characteristic tails of the swallowtails. Its wingspan is 52–80 mm (2.04-3.15 inches). … There is a somewhat darker subspecies, P. z. nitra, which is rare throughout the range, though somewhat more often found at lower elevations.”  Etymology item #2 on our end is that we prefer the little used word chrysalides as the plural form of chrysalis.

Now regarding your questions:  Chrysalizing is the name of a new age type of website.  According to Merriam-Webster, dictionary listings near chrysalis are:  “Chrysal, chrysalid, chrysalides, chrysalis, chrysalises, chrysaloid, Chrysamine” and chrysalizing and chrysalized are noticeably absent, so we have to say that as words, they do not currently exist in the English language, however, we understand perfectly what you would imply should you use those words in a sentence.

Thank you so much for allowing us to indulge in a touch of fun while responding to you.

P.S.  We have to tag you with the Bug Humanitarian Award for saving these chrysalides from predation by Wasps.

Thanks for the clarification Daniel. I’ve often wondered of Yellow Swallowtail and Anise Swallowtail are two names for the same butterfly. Maybe I should have known better as the females are attracted to my yard by fennel plants.
So, what is the term you use to describe what I mean by chrysalizing?
Since there is no verb that can be constructed from the root chrysalis, you can use an appropriate verb and the noun, as in “forming a chrysalis”.  There might  be another verb.  We frequently use “metamorphosing” to refer to transformation at any stage of the process except hatching from the egg.

Subject:  Monarch Emerges from Chrysalis
Geographic location of the bug: Elyria Canyon State Park, Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 07/09/2021
Time: 8:51 AM PDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Readers,
Last week Daniel informed you that while hiking in Elyria Canyon Park as post-operative knee therapy, he found a Monarch Chrysalis and Caterpillar on native Aesclepias eriocarpa.  Every day or two Daniel had been hiking back to check out the progress and yesterday the chrysalis appeared noticeably darker.

Monarch Chrysalis Day 10

Then this morning at 7:45 AM, the much awaited moment of translucence and the pattern of the wings showing through the exoskeleton.  Daniel sat on the bench to text the images to a few folk and then he laid down in the shade and listened to the birds, and an hour later, he realized that though he had missed the actual eclosion, he was still able to experience the mystery of metamorphosis and to view the helplessness of the newly transformed adult Monarch whose wings had not yet hardened and it was not yet able to fly.

Monarch Chrysalis Day 11

Despite missing the actual eclosion, Daniel was still witness to the hatchling testing out its strange new proboscis and auxiliary mouthparts.

Eclosion one hour later

Daniel writes:  “This new imago, though helpless, was adapting to its new vision thanks to the transformation of the visual sensation through complex compound eyes.  For about a half an hour I watched the adult Monarch feeling the breeze and testing the use of its new muscles in preparation for its maiden flight.  When I got close to take an image it was obvious the creature sensed me and potential threat because it appeared to quiver and to cower.  Not wanting my presence to interfere in the success of the transformation, I left thinking I might check up on it later in the afternoon, and to collect the remains of the exuvia.  I did note that there were no blossoms on the milkweeds in the patch.  All the blossoms seem to have withered and I pondered how much more successful a first flight would be after a first meal of milkweed nectar.  As I started my hike this morning, on my way into the canyon I watched an adult Monarch taking nectar from the blossoms of a patch of geraniums, but I reacted too slowly to get an image with the magicphone.”

Close-up of newly eclosed Monarch

 

Subject:  Monarch Caterpillar and Chrysalis on Indian Milkweed
Geographic location of the bug: Elyria Canyon State Park, Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 06/29/2021
Time: 8:30 AM PDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Readers,
As part of physical therapy rehabilitation for knee surgery, Daniel has begun hiking again, and this morning he was pleased to find first a Monarch Chrysalis and then a Monarch Caterpillar feeding on Kotolo or Indian or Wooley Milkweek,
Aesclepius eriocarpa, in Elyria Canyon State Park.

Monarch Caterpillar

Monarch Chrysalis

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Cary NC
Date: 06/15/2021
Time: 03:56 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this little guy nibbling on my corn leaves. Would love to know what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  Winters

Probably Clouded Skipper Caterpillar

Dear Winters,
We believe based on this BugGuide image that you have a Clouded Skipper Caterpillar,
Lerema accius.  According to BugGuide:  “Caterpillars host on grasses” and since Corn is a grass, it is a possible food plant.  According to the Alabama Butterfly Atlas:  “The caterpillar is greenish-white with a mid-dorsal dark stripe and two white lateral stripes. The head is white with a black margin and three vertical black stripes on the facial region. The body is covered with numerous minute white dots.”

Probably Clouded Skipper Caterpillar

Subject:  Unidentified Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Near Houston Texas
Date: 07/06/2020
Time: 04:22 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My mom and I found this caterpillar among her milkweed plants. She raises monarch butterflies, but this one is new. Neither of us have ever seen this kind of caterpillar before.
It was found July 6th, 2020, at around 3:15 PM.
How you want your letter signed:  Kris Prodoehl

Queen Caterpillar

Dear Chris,
The Monarch is not the only Milkweed Butterfly in the genus
Danaus that is found in Texas.  We believe your caterpillar is that of the related Queen Butterfly, Danaus gilippus, which is pictured on BugGuide.  Queen Caterpillars look similar to Monarch Caterpillars, but they have an additional set of “tentacles” and you were quite astute to observe this difference.