What is this???
Location: CA
July 26, 2011 5:37 pm
Curious as to identifying this horrific bug I took pictures of…
Signature: AP

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar

Dear AP,
We can think of numerous things in the world that might be called “horrific” but the Mourning Cloak Caterpillar is not one of them.  We cannot imagine what incited you to use such strong language.  Mourning Cloaks are lovely dark purple butterflies with cream colored wing edges and tiny blue spots, and their populations seem to be high this year.  Perhaps it is related to the heavy rains in California this past season.

Location: California

3 Responses to Mourning Cloak Caterpillar called "horrific"

  1. Kelly macias says:

    I found the so not horrific but actually extremely adorable caterpillar walking down my driveway. he was so cute, in fact it stopped me dead in the middle of an argument my husband and I were having. I picked him up in fear he would be stepped on and I put him in my azaleas…. does he like azaleas? he climbed right to the top so I’m hoping he will… what does my new furry friend eat???

    • bugman says:

      We are so happy to learn that caterpillars can act as mediators in domestic disputes. Your Mourning Cloak Caterpillar was probably seeking a place to transform into a chrysalis, not a food plant. Mourning Cloak caterpillars feed on elm, willow and a few other trees and they will not eat the leaves of an azalea.

      • Kelly macias says:

        thank you for your reply. you were right, he wasn’t looking for food, he went to the top and the next day he was hanging upside down, the next day he was in his chrysalis. I am so happy because I’m going to be able to see him (or her) change into a butterfly! I named him Tom haha.

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