Currently viewing the category: "butterfly caterpillars"

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  CT
Date: 06/30/2019
Time: 05:41 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
I’ve been unable to find this one in my Caterpillars of Eastern North America book, or online.  It was photographed on lam’s quarters, but I don’t know if it was feeding.
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks for taking pity on my curiosity!

Questionmark Caterpillar

Dear Tftpomc,
Though the colors seem light by comparison, we believe your caterpillar is that of a Questionmark butterfly,
Polygonia interrogationis, similar to this BugGuide image.

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:  What is this
Geographic location of the bug:  Richmond Va
Date: 06/12/2019
Time: 10:30 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What is this thing that was crawling on the sidewalk of my kids’ school today?
How you want your letter signed:  Crystal

Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Crystal,
This is the caterpillar of a Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.  There are several species in your area, and our best guess is that this is the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail,
Papilio glaucus.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.  The adult Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is a gorgeous butterfly.

Subject:  What is this
Geographic location of the bug:  Mobile, AL
Date: 06/13/2019
Time: 07:34 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Any idea what this is?   Found on a lemon tree
How you want your letter signed:  Laura

Orange Dog

Dear Laura,
This is the Caterpillar of a Giant Swallowtail, commonly called an Orange Dog.  It will eat some leaves, but it will not negatively affect the health of your tree.  Unless there are hundreds of them or the tree is very very small, the tree can stand to lose a few leaves.