Currently viewing the category: "brush footed butterfly caterpillars"

Subject:  hundreds of caterpillars
Geographic location of the bug:  Summerville, Northeastern Oregon
Date: 06/25/2019
Time: 03:42 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We awoke to hundreds of these caterpillars on the hollyhocks and crawling in the yard.
How you want your letter signed:  Bob

Painted Lady Caterpillar

Dear Bob,
Knowing the plant upon which an insect is feeding is often a tremendous assistance in identification, so we quickly located this BugGuide image of a Painted Lady,
Vanessa cardui, caterpillar on Hollyhocks, and it looks like your individual.  The Painted Lady is one of the most wide ranging butterfly species on the planet and it is sometimes called the Cosmopolitan, but interestingly, in the 17 years we have maintained What’s That Bug?, we cannot locate a single other image in our nearly 27,000 unique postings (26,988 to be exact) of a Painted Lady Caterpillar, though the genus is well represented with caterpillar images of the American Lady, Virginia Lady and Red Admiral.  Since the species is so wide ranging, the caterpillar must have a more varied diet than some very localized species that feed on a single plant or genus of plants.  According to BugGuide:  “Caterpillars feed primarily on Asteraceae and Malvaceae, especially Thistles, Burdock, and Hollyhocks. Many other plants are used occasionally, including Nettle, Alfalfa, Soy Bean, Beet, Borage, Plantain, etc.”  Painted Ladies are prone to mass migrations some years, and it was selected as our Bug of the Month for March 2015.

thanks so much. they are feeding on the hollyhocks and then once on the ground they all seem to be crawling north.  it is interesting!  Bob

Subject:  caterpillar in Tambopata rainforest, Peru
Geographic location of the bug:  Tambopata reserve, Peru
Date: 06/24/2019
Time: 11:09 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this colorful caterpillar in the tropical rain forest in Peru, in the Tambopata river area.
How you want your letter signed:  Gerhard Hüdepohl

Morpho Caterpillar

Dear Gerhard,
This caterpillar is gorgeous, but we have not been able to identify it.  We believe it might be a Prominent Moth Caterpillar in the family Notodontidae, or a Lappet Moth Caterpillar in the family Lasiocampidae.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist with this identification.

Morpho Caterpillar

Correction:  Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash and a link to this article, we now know this is a Morpho caterpillar, more specifically Morpho amathonte.

Dear Daniel and Cesar,
thank you very much!!  This is excellent news that you were able to identify this caterpillar. I have seen the fabulous Morpho butterflies, but this is the first time to see the caterpillar.
Thanks again,

Subject:  Monarch Caterpillars
Geographic location of the bug:  West Los Angeles
Date: 06/22/2019
Time: 04:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Bugman,
Thought you’d enjoy seeing these youngsters.  By the way, I’ve replaced all the tropical milkweed in my yard with native plants.
How you want your letter signed:  Jeff Bremer

Early Instar Monarch Caterpillars

That is awesome Jeff.  Can you tell us whether you planted seeds or plants? and provide us with your source for native milkweed?

I bought the plants through Monarch Watch:

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Fieldale, VA
Date: 06/08/2019
Time: 08:38 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can you please help me identify this caterpillar I pulled off my hops plant in late May/early June?
How you want your letter signed:  Sandra Nester in VA

Questionmark Caterpillar

Dear Sandra,
When attempting to identify plant feeding insects, it is tremendously helpful to know the food plant.  Thanks for informing us this Caterpillar was feeding on hops.  We quickly identified it as the caterpillar of a Questionmark butterfly thanks to BugGuide.  Here is a BugGuide image that looks even more like your individual.  The adult Questionmark is a beautiful butterfly.

Questionmark Caterpillar

Subject:  Decimators
Geographic location of the bug:  North-East Coast of Taiwan
Date: 02/15/2019
Time: 05:23 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Learn’d Fellows,
Every year at this time, my wild fig, having just sent forth it’s tremulous new leaves, is malevolently machete’d bare by these horned devil mowers. I have transplanted them to a wilder fig. Still I would  like to know my foe. Some deep-leaf sleeper-cells remain. Thanking you, in solidarity, ever-vigilantly.
How you want your letter signed:  Castellano

Common Mapwing Caterpillars

Dear Castellano,
We believe these are butterfly caterpillars from the family Nymphalidae, and that is where we are going to begin our research.  Thanks for providing the host plant.  That is often extremely helpful, and that information quickly produced this FlickR image of a Common Map Butterfly Caterpillar,
Cyrestis thyodamas, and the poster wrote:  “The curious mind must ask, why is this caterpillar like this?  My observational response is that these larvae feed on the new leaves of Ficus trees. Developing shoots appear as tightly swirled red tips at the ends of branches and these caterpillars line themselves up along the axis of open leaves, heads closest to the origin of the leaf, with their spines imitating the fresh foliage that is developing.”  We like the name Common Mapwing which is used on Learn About Butterflies where it states:  “The Common Mapwing is usually encountered singly or in two’s and three’s, in open forest edge habitats. Males are often seen on gravel roads or along pebble-strewn river beaches, where they bask in full sunlight while imbibing mineralised moisture. They are initially nervous and difficult to approach but once they start imbibing they tend to remain at the same spot for several minutes.  Females are seen less often, but sometimes encountered along forest trails, or nectaring at flowers in forest gardens.  Both sexes habitually rest beneath leaves with their wings outspread.  Less commonly they will bask on the upper surface of large leaves, but tend to only do so in areas of dappled sunlight.”  This represents a new species for our site.

Thank you for your gracious and comprehensive reply. I look forward to metamorphosis.
Their beauty is far from common.


Subject:  Caterpillar found in Vietnam
Geographic location of the bug:  Vietnam
Date: 01/20/2019
Time: 03:07 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can you ID this creature?
How you want your letter signed:  Connie E

Baron Caterpillar

Dear Connie,
This is a Baron Caterpillar in the genus
Euthalia.  There is a similar looking image on Jungle Dragon.