Parnassus Butterfly Caterpillar or Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar???

Cucullia sp.
I have attached the larva of what I think is a Cucullia sp. I was able to find a reference on but no specific species information. Thought you might be interested in adding this photo to your site. If you can tell me what species this is that would be great. I found the larva in my yard on a dandelion but it didn’t appear to be feeding… just traveling by. Thanks for your help.
Beth Hoar
Prince Edward Island, Canada

Hi Beth,
If we had to venture a guess, and it is a guess, we would say Cucullia intermedia.

Update: (05/15/2007) Parnassian ID
Hello, First I want to tell you how much I Love your site! I can’t believe I have never stumbled upon it before now. I just wanted to let you know that the Caterpillar listed on page 4 that is Identified as Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar or Cucullia intermedia might actually be a Parnassian. (Clodius Parnassian) to be specific. I had one myself a few years ago & can dig up some pics if you wish. It is a relation to the swallowtail family. Again, Great Site!! Keep up the amazing work!! Warmest Regards,

Hi Misty,
After looking at images of Parnassus caterpillars online, we believe you are correct with the genus at least.

December 18, 2008
Hi Daniel,
I have an image of its earlier instar as well if you are interested. It is one those interesting caterpillars as the late instar is completely different. I also was not able to get an ID until the last instar & it seems none exist on any site I can find at the moment. I also can not say Clodius for certain as the darned thing escaped just before pupating.. So no adult to compare.. I looked for it for months! I rear all caterpillars in the house so it could not have gotten far… Let me know if you would like the pics & size you prefer them sent. After I emailed you I viewed your site again. (Again, Great work!!) I see that you have updated the ID in question. I also noted that you were unsure as to the correct ID I provided & followed the link you posted. I just wanted you to know that “Apollo” is an alternate name for Clodius.. Here are a few links.
This guy is a difficult ID & documentation on the life cycle is very sparse.

Hi again Misty,
We would love to get the early instar photos. Please send them with information on where you gathered them.

Update: Differing Opinion
Caterpillar Identifications
Thu, Dec 18, 2008 at 8:57 PM
The original ID of Cucullia intermedia (2006/01/20/probably-parnassus-butterfly-caterpillar-not- hooded-owlet-moth-caterpillar/ ) is probably correct, although moth caterpillars are not my area of expertise. In any case, these are not Parnassius larvae, which have fine black hairs (making them look somewhat velvety), all instars similar in appearance (black with rows of light spots), and feed on Sedum or Dicentra (not dill or parsley) locally. Please see this Parnassius smintheus from Idaho: . North American Parnassian cats are rarely encountered, so a number of Internet photos are regrettably misidentified (such as ).
I hope the above information is helpful.
Best wishes,
Keith Wolfe
aka “EarlyStages”

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