Currently viewing the category: "brush footed butterfly caterpillars"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What kind of butterfly is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Taylors SC (Upstate SC)
Date: 10/02/2018
Time: 01:35 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Is this a type of Gulf Fritillary butterfly? We have about 25 chrysalis hanging on the back of our house. This one (2nd pic) hasn’t opened it’s wings yet, but I didn’t see any orange underneath, like the pictures I found online.
Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  Tina C

Newly Emerged Gulf Fritillary

Dear Tina,
We love your image of the wall with various stages of development of Gulf Fritillaries.  Your close-ups are of a pre-pupal Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar and a newly eclosed adult Gulf Fritillary.  The dorsal surface of its wings are orange.  You must have a passion flower vine nearby.

Gulf Fritillaries: Stages of Metamorphosis

Pre-Pupal Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Stinbug sucking on a monarch caterpillar.
Geographic location of the bug:  Western New York State
Date: 08/09/2018
Time: 09:17 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My wife was so excited to see a monarch caterpillar in our garden today (8/9/2018), only to discover that its “friend” was sucking its insides out.  I could tell the vampire was a true bug, but I had thought they mostly drank plant sap. How specific are they? Does it specialize in monarchs or does  feed  other larvae? Thanks! You guys are awesome!
How you want your letter signed:  Mark VanDerwater

Spined Soldier Bug preys on Monarch Caterpillar

Dear Mark,
While most Stink Bugs feed on fluids from plants, one subfamily, Asopinae, is predatory.  We believe we have correctly identified your Predatory Stink Bug as
Apoecilus cynicus thanks to this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide:  “mostly feeds on caterpillars” but luckily they do not limit their diet to solely Monarch Caterpillars so relocating the Predatory Stink Bug far from the milkweed, perhaps in the vegetable patch, would be our solution to repeating this scenario in the future. 

Thank you Daniel! I was poking around insect sights too and came up with the spined soldier bug, Podisus maculiventris. Known to prefer lepidoptera larvae. Also has the dark abdominal tip.

Hi Mark,
We agree that you have provided us with a correction.  The Spined Soldier Bug is another member of the Predatory Stink Bug subfamily, and this BugGuide image is a good match, and the BugGuide description “Black streak on wing membrane + spined humeri are diagnostic” matches your image.  Thanks for bringing this misidentification to our attention. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Caterpillar ID?
Geographic location of the bug:  Indianapolis
Date: 07/24/2018
Time: 08:19 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this caterpillar and can’t figure out the type! Small, like the width of a thumb. Strange head. Thanks for the help! Found on a recently fallen oak tree, still with live leaves.
How you want your letter signed:  Ryan

Emperor Caterpillar

Dear Ryan,
This is an Emperor Caterpillar in the genus
Asterocampa and here is a BugGuide image for reference.  We don’t believe they feed on oak.  Is there a hackberry shrub near where the oak fell?

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Luang Prabang, Laos
Date: 07/03/2018
Time: 05:28 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What is this and is it poisonous?
How you want your letter signed:  Dean Burkhalter

Baron Caterpillar

Dear Dean,
We believe this is an Baron caterpillar from the genus
Euthalia, and to the best of our knowledge, it is not poisonous.  There is an image on Butterfly Circle and one on FlickR to support our identification.  A Check List of Butterflies of Indo-China verifies the genus is present in Laos.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Gold spiked chrysalis
Geographic location of the bug: n South Central Va
Date: 06/18/2018
Time: 06:08 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
Thank you for all of your hard work over the years, I’ve found you again after some time.
I really just want to share with you my photos, it might be something you’ll appreciate.
How you want your letter signed:  From Juicy – Steady as she goes

Variegated Fritillary Chrysalis

Dear Juicy-Steady as she goes,
This beautiful chrysalis is that of a Variegated Fritillary.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  black caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Noth Umpqua area of Oregon
Date: 06/13/2018
Time: 04:44 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi I’ve been having trouble identifying this critter. They showed up June 2, 10 days ago by the thousands. At first they were about 1″ long , now they are around 2″. I’ve been watching their progress and today I noticed some pupae forming. I had thought they were Ceanothus Silk Moth caterpillars but now I don’t thinks so.
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks Bill

California Tortoiseshell Caterpillar

Dear Bill,
We immediately wrote back to see if you could provide the name of the plant upon which these Tortoiseshell Caterpillars are feeding, because we are certain the genus is
Nymphalis, but we are not sure of the species.  Our likeliest candidate because they are often found in great numbers is that they are Mourning Cloak Caterpillars, but the caterpillar lacks the red spots found on Mourning Cloak Caterpillars and the chrysalis does not really look right.  According to BugGuide, Mourning Cloak Caterpillars feed on ” primarily willow (Salix spp.) but also other trees and shrubs including Cottonwood (Populus deltoides), Trembling Aspen (P. tremuloides), American Elm (Ulmus americana), Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera), and Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis).”  Based on images posted to BugGuide, we believe they are probably California Tortoiseshells, and Oregon is well within the range, and since BugGuide states “Larva feeds on various species of wild lilac (Ceanothus),”  knowing the food plant would greatly assist in the identification.  Our least likely candidate due to your location is the Compton Tortoiseshell because most caterpillars are green, but BugGuide does picture this black individual and BugGuide indicates the range as being “southeastern Alaska and across Canada south of the tundra, south in the west to Montana and Wyoming, south in the east to North Carolina and Missouri known to wander; has been recorded as far south as California and Florida, and as far north as Baker Lake, north of treeline in Nunavut” and also states “larvae feed in groups on willow (Salix spp.), birch (Betula spp.), and poplar (Populus spp.).”  In recapping, we are leaning toward California Tortoiseshells, and knowing they were feeding on Ceanothus would seal the deal for us.

Metamorphosis of a California Tortoiseshell Caterpillar

Hi Thanks for the response They were feeding on Buckbrush (Ceanothus) and Schoolers Willow. There were people clearing trees and brush from under a major powerline up the hill behind me and they said that the caterpillars completely defoliated over 2 acres of buckbrush. Yesterday I was still seeing them coming towards our home and on the driveway but it is slowing down and they are attaching and forming  the chrysalis. I’m sure looking forward to seeing them when they emerge. Thanks Bill

Please try to send us images of any adults that emerge.  That will surely verify the species.

California Tortoiseshell Chrysalis

How long will they be in the Crysalis? It’s warming up to the 90’s next week.

Two weeks is a good average, but temperature and humidity may affect eclosion time.

Update:  June 27, 2018
These guys showed up today. Lots of them were in my green house plastic lean-to affair, I opened the ends and chased them out. I have yet to see any action from the one I have in a jar and most of the chrysalis’s have disappeared or been eaten. I saw wasps harassing them and an orange fly about the size of a house fly eating one. Some out in the woods were still shaking when I approached so they’re still viable I guess. I was expecting to see more but some are still to come I suppose.
Thanks for your help Bill

California Tortoiseshell

Thanks for the update Bill.  Seems this California Tortoiseshell appeared right on schedule.  Here is a BugGuide image to verify its identity.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination