Cloudless Sulphur Caterpillar

Subject: Yellow caterpillar Tucson AZ
Location: Oro Valley, AZ on Narana Road
October 9, 2015 11:50 am
What does this caterpillar become?
Signature: Curious

Cloudless Sulphur Caterpillar
Cloudless Sulphur Caterpillar

Dear Curious,
This is the caterpillar of a Cloudless Sulphur butterfly,
Phoebis sennae, and the caterpillars have both green and yellow forms.  The adult Cloudless Sulphur is a beautiful yellow butterfly.  According to BugGuide:  “Caterpillar feeds most commonly on Cassia and some other woody and herbaceous legumes.”  Interestingly, the yellow caterpillars are quite well camouflaged when feeding on the yellow flowers of the plants and the green caterpillars are well camouflaged when feeding on the leaves.  It is our theory that the green caterpillars feeding on the flowers were eaten by birds and the yellow caterpillars feeding on leaves were eaten by birds, and not that the caterpillars are able to change color when feeding on either flowers or leaves.  We have a nice series of images of the metamorphosis of the Cloudless Sulphur in our archives.

Thank you
Liane Futch

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