Scalloped Owl Butterfly Caterpillar from Brazil

Subject: Caterpillar
Location: Florianopolis, SC, Brazil
August 21, 2016 8:39 pm
Dear Mr. Bugman,
I live on the Island of Florianopolis,SC, Brazil. I went out in the garden today and when I came back in I found this psychedelic caterpillar on me. I was fiddeling with a rose bush and a brugmansia. But honestly there are so many different plants in our garden, it could have fallen from anywhere?. Do you know what bug this is? Today is Sunday August 21st, and the season is winter. But we have a very mild winter and it feels springy already with lots of rain in the last two days after some very dry winter weather.
Thank you!
Signature: Carolina

Owl Butterfly Caterpillar
Scalloped Owl Butterfly Caterpillar

Dear Carolina,
After some research, we are quite certain we have identified your caterpillar as an Owl Butterfly Caterpillar in the genus
Opsiphanes, but we do not feel confident providing a species identification.  Our search began with this similar looking caterpillar on FlickR that is identified as Opsiphanes invirae.  We continued to research and found more similar looking images of Opsiphanes tamarindi on Parasitoid-Caterpillar-Plant Interactions in the Americas.  According to  “Belonging to the same family of butterflies as the famous Owl Butterflies, this Opiphanes genus contains about ten different species which can be challenging to differentiate. This group is characteristically crepuscular, being most active during the dawn and dusk hours and patrolling the dark forest interior so their cryptic coloration optimally blends with the dark shadow. They can be attracted to fermenting fruit bait during daylight hours … .”  We will contact Keith Wolfe to see if he can provide a species identification.  

Owl Butterfly Caterpillar
Scalloped Owl Butterfly Caterpillar

Keith Wolfe provides a species identification:  Scalloped Owl Butterfly
Olá Carolina,
This is an immature Scalloped Owl-butterfly (Opsiphanes quiteria).  It needs to still grow further, so please put it on a nearby palm, which are the natural hostplants.  Here is a short report about your lagarta in Portuguese . . .
Let me know if you would like to see a more detailed paper in English.  Daniel, regrettably the larvae shown at the above “Parasitoid-Caterpillar-Plant Interactions in the Americas” link are all misidentified.

Hello Daniel and Ola Keith,
Thank you so much! You are so kind! And thank you for the link.  I would love a more detailed paper in English.
I didn’t know where to put it, so I put it in the garden. Now it’s gone. Lots of these Jeriva palm trees everywhere, so hopefully it has found it’s way to one.
Obrigada! Abraços

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