Subject: Colorful Ecuadorian caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug: Rio Silanche Sanctuary, Ecuador
Time: 11:56 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hi Daniel, et al.
While visiting Ecuador mid-January 2017, I unfurled this Pyrginae caterpillar from it’s shelter. Sorry, I don’t know what plant it was on. I wonder if one of your experts can tell me the name of the skipper.
How you want your letter signed: Dwaine
This is a gorgeous caterpillar. Upon embarking on identification research, we quickly found this very different, but also colorfully striped Skipper Caterpillar on FlickR and another Skipper Caterpillar (Astraptes fulgerator) from Brazil on FlickR, shot by the same photographer, is an even closer match to your individual. Despite the color difference, we would not rule out that your individual might be Astraptes fulgerator or another member of the genus. Caterpillars often change color just prior to metamorphosis, and pink and purple are two colors some caterpillars assume when undergoing morphological changes. This Biodiversity in Focus article cites the genus Astraptes and DNA identification, and it contains an image of some variability in Astraptes caterpillars based on food plants. There are also images of Two-Barred Flasher Caterpillars on the North American Butterfly Association of South Texas site. We will contact Keith Wolfe to see if he can provide any information.
Thank you so much!! That is a wealth of information I did not have.