Brush Footed Butterfly: All You Need to Know in a Nutshell

Do Aphids Eat Monarch Eggs

The Brush Footed Butterfly a family of butterflies (Nymphalidae) with around 5,000 species found across the globe.

It is the largest butterfly family and includes many well-known subfamilies.

One of the primary features of these butterflies is their reduced forelegs, hence the name “Brush Footed.”

These butterflies exhibit a wide range of colors and patterns, making them visually appealing and popular among butterfly enthusiasts.

Brush Footed Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly on Bull Thistle

Some notable examples of Brush Footed Butterflies include the Monarch and the Painted Lady.

They play a crucial role in pollination and serve as indicators of a healthy ecosystem.

In addition to their ecological importance, the Brush Footed Butterfly can also be a source of inspiration for artists, designers, and nature lovers alike.

Their varying wing patterns, sizes, and flight styles offer a captivating display of natural beauty that everyone can appreciate.

Brush Footed Butterfly Overview

Largest Family of Butterflies

Nymphalidae, also known as brush-footed butterflies, is the largest family of butterflies. They have:

  • Over 5,000 species worldwide
  • Various colors and patterns

Examples of brush-footed butterflies include Monarchs, Painted Ladies, and Mourning Cloaks.

They fall under the order Lepidoptera and superfamily Papilionoidea, which separates them from moths.

Classification and Phylogeny

Subfamilies and Clades


The Libytheinae subfamily includes snout butterflies, which have elongated mouthparts resembling a snout.

Danaine Clade

The Danaine Clade includes the Monarch butterfly and other milkweed butterflies.


The Ithomiinae subfamily consists of clearwing butterflies, which usually have transparent wings and a preference for tropical habitats.

Clearwing Butterfly


The Tellervini is a tribe within Ithomiinae containing about 16 genera of mainly Neotropical butterflies.

Satyrine Clade

The Satyrine Clade includes several subfamilies, such as:

  1. Calinaginae: Often referred to as Oriental Wood-nymphs
  2. Charaxinae: Leafwing butterflies, known for their leaf-like wing shape and camouflage
  3. Morphinae: Morphos and Owl butterflies which showcase iridescent colors and eye-like patterns on their wings

The Brassolini is a tribe within the Morphinae subfamily, containing a diverse group of Neotropical butterflies.


The Satyrinae subfamily features the “browns” and “ringlets,” which typically exhibit earthy tones and simple wing patterns.

A comparison table of selected subfamilies:

Subfamily Notable Features Example Species
Ithomiinae Transparent Wings Clearwing
Charaxinae Leaf-like wing shape Leafwing
Morphinae Iridescent Colors Morpho, Owl

Identifying Brush Footed Butterflies

Physical Characteristics

Some common characteristics of Brush footed butterflies include:

  • Reduced front legs: These legs don’t have feet, but have little brushes of hairs used for sensing
  • Color patterns: Many species are brightly colored, while others are camouflaged
  • Wing patterns: Most have brown camouflage patterns on the underside of the wings

Various species within this family exhibit distinct physical characteristics, which we will discuss in the following subsection.

Notable Species

Here are some notable species of brush footed butterflies, along with examples of their unique features:

  • Common Buckeye: Known for its striking eye-like patterns on its wings
  • Monarch butterflies: Recognizable by their orange and black color pattern, these butterflies are well known for their incredible migration
  • Admirals: These butterflies are identified by the bands of color on their wings

Weidemeyer’s Admiral

  • Fritillaries: A diverse group including the Aphrodite Fritillary, Great Spangled Fritillary, and Meadow Fritillary
  • Skippers: These small butterflies have a distinct moth-like appearance
  • Milkweed butterflies: This group includes several species, such as the Baltimore and Eastern Comma, that rely on milkweed plants as their host
  • Swallowtails: With over 600 species globally, these butterflies are characterized by prominent “tails” on their wings
  • Tortoiseshells: Known for their unique, tortoiseshell-like patterns on the wings
Species Unique Features
Common Buckeye Eye-like wing patterns
Monarch Orange and black color pattern
Admirals Bands of color on wings
Fritillaries Diverse group, various patterns
Skippers Moth-like appearance
Milkweed Rely on milkweed plants as their host
Swallowtails Prominent “tails” on wings
Tortoiseshells Tortoiseshell-like patterns on wings

With this information, you should be better equipped to identify various brush footed butterfly species in the wild!

Lifecycle of Brush Footed Butterflies

The lifecycle of the Brush Footed Butterflies, like all butterflies, is a captivating journey of transformation, encompassing four distinct stages: egg, caterpillar (larva), chrysalis (pupa), and adult butterfly.

Each stage offers a unique glimpse into the remarkable adaptability and survival strategies of these insects.


The lifecycle begins when a female butterfly lays her eggs on a host plant. The choice of plant is crucial, as it will provide the necessary nutrients for the emerging caterpillar.

The eggs are tiny, often spherical or oval, and may be laid singly or in clusters, depending on the species.

Caterpillar (Larva)

After a period, which can range from a few days to several weeks, the egg hatches to reveal the caterpillar. This stage is primarily a growth phase.

The caterpillar’s primary objective is to eat and grow, molting several times as its body expands.

Common Map Butterfly Caterpillar

Brush Footed Butterfly caterpillars are known for their reduced front pair of legs and their agile walking capabilities.

They exhibit a variety of colors and patterns, often serving as camouflage against predators.

Chrysalis (Pupa)

Once the caterpillar reaches its full size, it seeks a sheltered spot to undergo its next transformation.

It anchors itself and forms a protective casing known as a chrysalis or pupa.

Inside this casing, one of nature’s most astounding processes takes place: the caterpillar undergoes metamorphosis, reorganizing its cells and body structure to emerge as a butterfly.

This stage can last from a few days to several months, depending on the species and environmental conditions.


Adult Butterfly

When the transformation is complete, the chrysalis becomes transparent, revealing the butterfly within. The adult butterfly then breaks free, and after allowing its wings to dry and harden, it takes its maiden flight.

Adult Brush Footed Butterflies display a diverse range of colors and patterns, with some species showcasing striking iridescence or intricate designs. The adults then seek out mates to reproduce, and the cycle begins anew.

Summary of Lifecycle Stages

Feature Caterpillar Chrysalis
Stage of Life Larval stage Pupal stage
Function Eating, growing Transformation
Leg Adaptations Reduced front pair Not present
Mobility Agile walking Immobile
Time Spent in Stage Weeks Days to Weeks
Predators Birds, insects, etc. Birds, insects, etc.

Mimicry and Adaptations

Brush Footed Butterflies have evolved several remarkable mimicry and adaptation techniques. These include:

  • Mimicking unpalatable or toxic species to deter predators
  • Camouflaging as leaves, twigs, or other common objects

An example of mimicry can be seen in the Viceroy butterfly, which closely resembles the toxic Monarch butterfly.

This resemblance helps deter predators, increasing the Viceroy’s chances of survival.

Regional Distribution

North America

In North America, two prominent sub-families of brush-footed butterflies are the Libytheidae, also known as snout butterflies, and the Danaidae.

Let’s compare these sub-families:

  Snout Butterflies (Libytheidae) Danaidae
Habitat Diverse habitats, forests to gardens Mainly tropical regions, some temperate areas
Example Species American Snout Monarch Butterfly
Unique Features Prominent “snout” feeding tube Migratory, some species poisonous to predators

Snout Butterflies

Snout butterflies (family Libytheidae) can be found in various habitats in North America, from forests to gardens.

The American Snout is one example of a snout butterfly species.

Snout Butterfly


The Danaidae family is more common in tropical regions, but some species can also be found in temperate zones within North America.

One renowned example is the Monarch Butterfly, which has a fascinating migratory pattern.

Other Regions

Besides North America, brush-footed butterflies are also present in other regions with diverse species and characteristics.

  • South America: Rich variety of species, predominantly found in the tropical rainforests
  • Europe: Species like the Peacock, Comma, and Red Admiral can be found, preferring woodland and garden habitats
  • Asia: Many species present, including the markedly large Atlas Moth found in tropical forests
  • Africa: Includes the spectacular African Giant Swallowtail butterfly, known for its size and striking patterns
  • Australia: Unique species such as the Australian Painted Lady and the Orchard Swallowtail reside in different habitats across the continent

Appreciating Brush Footed Butterflies

Butterfly Identification and Gardening

Brush footed butterflies are part of the Nymphalidae family and have a diverse range of species with varying colors and patterns.

Some common butterfly types within this family are Sulphurs, Coppers, Blues, and Hairstreaks. Identifying these butterflies relies on features such as:

  • Color patterns
  • Wing size
  • Presence of wing “tails” or hair-like extensions

Creating a butterfly garden can help attract and support these beautiful creatures.


Plant a variety of nectar-rich flowers and host plants specific to the different types of brush-footed butterflies. For example:

  • For Sulphurs: Plant legumes and clover
  • For Coppers: Provide milkweed and sorrel
  • For Blues: Include vetch and alfalfa
  • For Hairstreaks: Plant oak and willow trees

Literature and Science

Brush-footed butterflies have been well-documented in both scientific literature and other forms of literature.

For example, Jonathan P. Pelham’s Catalogue of the Butterflies of the United States and Canada provides a comprehensive list of butterfly species, including those in the Nymphalidae family.

In science, researchers often study these butterflies’ unique characteristics, such as their reduced front legs with brushes instead of feet. These brushes aid in smelling and tasting their surroundings.


In conclusion, the Brush Footed Butterfly, belonging to the Nymphalidae family, showcases the incredible diversity and beauty of the natural world.

With around 5,000 species globally, these butterflies captivate with their myriad colors, patterns, and unique features.

Their ecological significance, from pollination to serving as ecosystem indicators, underscores their importance.

By understanding their characteristics, habitats, and behaviors, we can better appreciate these winged wonders and contribute to their conservation.



Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about brush footed butterflies. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – A Medley of Caterpillars

For the love of Caterpillars
Dear Bugman:
Hope you had a great trip with the students. I know you all are super busy so since I last wrote you, I did some serious web searching and managed to identify my two ‘pillars that I sent in earlier this month (Hickory Tussock moth caterpillar and Yellow bear caterpillar–I think).

Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Since your site is so great and I use it so much, I thought I would give back a bit. Attached are all the photos I have taken of caterpillars near our home in Churchville, Virginia.

Buck Moth Caterpillar Io Moth Caterpillar

Hope you like them! (Higher resolution photos available if you want). Sincerely,
Lacey Parker

Monarch Caterpillar Banded Woollybear Caterpillar

Wow Lacey,
We really hit the jackpot with your awesome Caterpillar photos.

Letter 2 – Archduke Caterpillar or related species from Sumatra

Subject: Archduke Caterpillar from West Sumatra… Lexias pardalis ? Lexias dirtea ?
Location: West Sumatra – Indonesia
October 6, 2015 11:24 am
Dear Bugman,
I’m leaving in the forest in West Sumatra and i took this picture the last year. I suppose that it’s a Lexias pardalis or dirtea…. But the blue color is much more pronounced than in other pictures I found and that are usually taken in Thailand or Borneo. Is there somebody to confirm the identification of this Archduke Caterpillar ?
Thanks a lot for your help.
Kind regards
Signature: Nad Rimba

Archduke Caterpillar
Archduke Caterpillar

Dear Nad,
Your images are gorgeous and so is this Archduke Caterpillar, but alas, we haven’t the necessary skills to distinguish which member of the genus you encountered.  Perhaps one of our more qualified readers like Keith Wolfe can supply some information.

Archduke Caterpillar
Archduke Caterpillar

Keith Wolfe Responds
Greetings Nad and Daniel,
With four species of Lexias reported for the island of Sumatra, three of whose caterpillars are known, this is most likely L. dirtea or L. pardalis (  The blue color can be attributable to several reasons — camera settings, ambient lighting, larval maturity, or it actually being the fourth taxon, L. cyanipardus; however, here is a very similar bluish dirtea/pardalis cat from Thailand . . .
Best wishes,

Letter 3 – Bajá de Dos Colas: Two Tailed Pasha Caterpillar

A Nawab Caterpillar?
Mon, Feb 16, 2009 at 10:59 AM
Hello I’m came from Andorra la Vella (Between Spain and France). Today I discover a Caterpillar in a Flower, is this true? I attach photos about it
Luis Espinosa
Andorra la Vella

Bajá de Dos Colas Caterpillar
Bajá de Dos Colas Caterpillar

Hola Luis,
We tried finding information on the possibility that Nawabs, genus Polyura, might be found in the Mediterranean, but we had no luck.  Then we tried to search the family name and found the genus Charaxes on the website.   A butterfly called the Two Tailed Pasha was pictured. 

Its range is described as “Afrotropic ecozone (Africa) and the Palaeartic ecozone (Europe). The distribution include whole Africa without the Sahel and the South of Europe (Spain, France, Italy and Greece).”  Sadly there were no images of the caterpillar, but we searched the species name and located what we believe to be your caterpillar, the Two Tailed Pasha, Charaxes jasius, which according to Wikipedia can be found in the Mediterranean. 

Continued searching gave us the Wildside Holidays website that describes:  “The caterpillar can be up to 6cm in length. It is green with 4 very distinctive backward facing spikes on its head. They create a silk pad on a leaf and return to this after feeding.” 

Finally, the common Spanish name for the butterfly is Bajá de Dos Colas. So, your presumption that this was a Nawab Caterpillar is quite close as the Nawab and the Pasha are closely related.

Letter 4 – Blue Spotted Firewing or closely related species from Costa Rica

Subject: Costa Rica butterfly
Location: Platanillo, Costa Rica
May 17, 2012 1:43 pm
What would this little beauty be? Taken today from my casa in Platanillo…orange and black with lovely blue markings on her lower wings.
Signature: Paula

Blue Spotted Firewing

Dear Paula,
This is a truly gorgeous butterfly.  We knew the family to be Nymphalidae and we searched for Costa Rican species and found a visual match identified as
Catonephele numilia on the Le Jardinoscope website.  Armed with a name, we located a Blue Spotted Firewing on the Learn About Butterflies website where we learned: 

“The genus Catonephele contains 11 species, with wingspans of circa 65-80mm. The males are dark brown on the upperside with dazzling reflective orange patches which vary in size and shape from species to species. Females are entirely different in appearance. In most species they have dark brown wings marked with linear rows of cream spots.

The female of numilia however has a large cream patch in the median area of the forewing, and has the basal and submarginal areas of the hindwings deep red. Both sexes of all species have cryptic undersides in shades of brown.  Catonephele numilia occurs from Mexico to Peru.”  We also learned:  “The butterflies are usually encountered singly. Males perch on tree trunks and rock faces, often in a head-downwards posture.

They also bask on foliage or on fallen branches in light gaps, often less than a metre above ground level, and are reminiscent in behaviour of Nessaea. Males often imbibe mineral-rich moisture from damp earth along forest tracks and roads. If alarmed they fly up and spend a few moments circling cautiously, but soon resettle close to their original position. 

Females are scarcer, and usually seen when searching for oviposition sites along forest trails. They can occasionally be seen basking on sunlit paths.”

Letter 5 – Large-spotted Acraea Caterpillar and Chrysalis from the Congo

Congo, Kinshasa spiked and yellow banded caterpilalr and pupa
Location: Kinshasa, Congo
December 22, 2011 4:06 pm
Mr. Bugman,
Can you please help us ID the caterpillar and pupa in the following photographs from Kinshasa, Congo ?
Signature: Katy and her dad

Large-spotted Acraea Caterpillar from the Congo

Dear Katy and her dad,
Can you confirm if the caterpillar pictured metamorphosed into the attached chrysalis, or if they are different species?  We will contact Keith Wolfe to see if he is able to identify this species which we believe is a member of the Brush Footed Butterfly family Nymphalidae.

Two views of a Large-spotted Acraea Chrysalis

We are not completely sure that they are the same but the chrysalis
was in the same place we left the caterpillar 3 days prior.  Katy’s
mom says she thinks she saw it already attached  there in yellow form.
Thanks for your help!

Keith Wolfe responds.
Dear Katy, Dad (plus Mom), and Daniel,
This is the larva and pupa of the Large-spotted Acraea, Acraea zetes.  I will write more after returning home tomorrow.  Merry Christmas!
Best wishes,

Daniel and Kieth,
Thanks much for the ID and Merry Christmas.
Katy and her mom and dad.

Keith Wolfe elaborates:
December 28, 2011
Hello again Katy, Dad, and Daniel,
Yes, with luck, your chrysalis will metamorphose into Acraea zetes (; here’s the same caterpillar from Gabon —

However, with something like 135 species of Acraea recorded from the DRC, most of whose immature stages are unknown, it’s entirely possible that my long-distance ID is wrong.  Thus, please let us know the outcome, preferably showing the resulting butterfly to a local authority or carefully comparing it to a reliable reference.

Disclaimer: the hyperlink appearing in my initial response was inserted by the ever-helpful Bugman.
Cheers from a chilly California,

Thanks again for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us!!  We brought the chrysalis into the house with hopes to see it emerge and if lucky, document the event as it occurs.  At the very least we will get pictures of the emergent butterfly before releasing it .
Stay warm and Happy New Year to you both.
Katy and her dad.

UPDATE:  December 29, 2011
Daniel and Keith,
We got emergence !  Unfortunately no one was home when it happened to get pictures of the process but we got pictures of the butterfly here :
Does it look like Acraea zetes after all ?

Acraea Chrysalis prior to emergence

Daniel and Keith,
We were lucky to find the butterfly after emerging yesterday.  Unfortunately everyone was out of the house when the event occurred sometime between noon and 4pm.   You can see pictures of the chrysalis that morning and the butterfly in the series created here.  I hope species confirmation can be made with picture of the butterfly form.
Thanks again.

Newly Metamorphosed Acraea

Dear Katy and her dad,
We would love to include the emerged imago on our site, however, we would like to request that you attach the images to your response as it is not possible to grab the images from Flickriver.

Newly Metamorphosed Acraea species

Please find images attached

Large Spotted Acraea or closely related species from the Congo

Dear Katy and her Dad,
We are thrilled to get your new photos for our website.  In addition to creating an addendum to your December 22 submission of the Acraea Caterpillar and Chrysalis, we will be creating a brand new posting that links to the original.

Letter 6 – Emperor Butterfly from China

Subject:  Nymphalid Butterfly Mystery
Geographic location of the bug:  Beijing, China
August 29, 2017
Greetings Mr Bugman,
I came across this butterfly in a park in Beijing. I am having trouble identifying it, but to me it looks like a member of the Nymphalidae family. I thought it belonged to the genus Vanessa, but now I’m having some doubts. I will be grateful if you can help me identify this butterfly! Thank you very much!
How you want your letter signed:  Jonathan

Emperor Butterfly

Dear Jonathan,
We did not have any luck identifying your Brush Footed Butterfly, but we do agree it is in the family Nymphalidae.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck and write in to us with an identification.

Karl Identifies Emperor Butterfly
Nymphalid Butterfly Mystery, Beijing, China – August 29, 2017
Hello Daniel and Jonathan:
This is an Emperor butterfly in the genus Apatura. A number of species are native to China, all somewhat similar and diverse. The closest I can find is Apatyra ilia, which ranges all through Europe, Russia and northern Asia to Japan.

There are a lot of images online, but you could check out this site (click on the thumbnails at the bottom of the page). There are a few species that I could not find illustrations for so there could be something closer. Regards. Karl

Thanks so much Karl.  We did try unsuccessfully to search the same genus as the Hackberry Emperor, the North American butterfly that most closely resembled this individual in our opinion.

Letter 7 – Fritillary Chrysalis from Ecuador

Subject: Gold speckled caterpillar?
Location: Puerto Lopez, Ecuador
April 5, 2015 7:39 pm
This beautiful creature was climbing on a bamboo pole about 4 feet off the ground near our house. The pictures don’t do it justice; the gold specks on it’s back looked like they were reflecting – almost mineral like. It’s about one inch long.
We saw it at about 11:00a EDT on Easter Sunday (April 5th), and it didn’t move in the 20 or so minutes that we were watching it. Tonight (9:30p), it is no longer there.
Our house is 49m above sea level and about one km to the ocean. After two years of drought, we’ve had rain almost nightly during the past week. This morning, about three hours before seeing this guy, we had three inches of rain in four hours.
(I don’t know if all of this information is useful, but I thought I’d provide as much detail as possible.)
Signature: Scott Bloomquist

Nymphalidae Chrysalis
Nymphalidae Chrysalis

Dear Scott,
This is not a caterpillar, but rather a Chrysalis, and in our opinion, it is classified in the Brush Footed Butterfly family Nymphalidae.  It resembles the chrysalis of a Variegated Fritillary,
Euptoieta claudia, a North American species that is also found in South America, according to BugGuide.  We suspect your chrysalis is closely related.  We will contact Keith Wolfe to get his opinion.

Thank you, Daniel.  It was still there today, 24 hours later.
I’ll look up the names that you provided; I appreciate the information.

Keith Wolfe Responds
Buenas tardes Scott and Daniel,
Good eye/memory, Bugman!  This is indeed a fritillary-in-waiting, specifically a pupa of the Mexican Fritillary (Euptoieta hegesia).  Here are two links of hopeful interest . . .
Best wishes,

Thanks Keith,
I have updated the posting with the links you provided.  I thought it looked like the genera-mate Variegated Fritillary.

Letter 8 – Brush Footed Butterfly from Malaysia: The Rustic

Butterfly ID
February 2, 2010
Shot this on a sunny day in an aboriginal village in Pertak. Could you please help id this specie as I couldn’t find it in Corbet & Pendlebury”s Butterflies of the Malay Peninsula.
Buttefly lover

The Rustic

Dear Butterfly Lover,
This is one of the Brush Footed Butterflies in the family Nymphalidae, but we are uncertain of the species.  First we searched the Butterflies of Malaysia website without any luck.  Then we tried the Malaysia Butterfly Checklist, but many of the thumbnails are of the closed wing view. 

In clicking through those, we believe you have photographed a Rustic, Cupha erymanthis lotis.  The Malaysia Butterfly Checklist provides this information:  “The Rustic is a relatively common species which stays within the vicinity of the nature reserves. It is often spotted close to where its host plant, Flacourtia rukam can be found.

The Rustic is an orange-brown butterfly with a characteristic broad yellow discal patch on the forewings followed by a broad black apical area. In flight, it can sometimes be mistaken for the Banded Yeoman (Cirrochroa orissa orissa). In Singapore, the Banded Yeoman is much rarer.  

The Rustic is an active butterfly and usually appears on sunny days. It is an alert butterfly and is difficult to photograph as it flits from leaf to leaf and rarely stops for long. Even when alighted on a perch, its wings are often moving continuously, ready to take off at the slightest distraction.   The underside of this species is paler than the upperside, but with similar markings as above.

Letter 9 – Brush-Footed Butterfly from Peru

Subject:  Probably Opsiphanes invirae
Geographic location of the bug:  Amazon rainforest in Peru
Date: 11/27/2017
Time: 02:01 PM EDT
Hi again,
This time I come with a probably identified species and just need to confirm it. Or not. 😉
I think it’s Opsiphanes invirae, and you?
It was in august 2009.
Thank you.
How you want your letter signed:  Ferran Lizana

Brush-Footed Butterfly

Hi Ferran,
Most images of
Opsiphanes invirae that are posted online of living specimens show the ventral wing surfaces, like the images on Learn About Butterflies, and the markings on the ventral surface of your individual are barely visible, but they also appear much less ornate.  You may be correct, but we cannot state that for certain.  This image from FlickR appears very close.

Letter 10 – Brushfooted Butterfly: 88 from South America

Older butterfly in display
Location: Pennsylvania (although framed)
November 14, 2010 12:16 pm
Hi, I have a butterfly from the 1970’s, and figured by now is probably a rare one…Can you ID what kind it is? I’ve searched alot of pics, and can’t find it. Thank you as always
Don J
Signature: Old Butterfly

88:  Tropical Brushfooted Butterfly

Hi Don,
This is a lovely vintage specimen of a butterfly souvenir collectible.  In our opinion, it is a Brushfooted Butterfly.  Here are some amazing photos of the collection of Robert Aronheim.  The Mariposas Mexicanas website has nice images of the Great Agrias:
Agrias aedon rodriguezi, which we are relatively sure is not your species, though it may be a subspecies or a close relative in the same genus. 

It would seem upon reading this Animal Crossing Neoseeker website that the Agrias Butterfly is a character in a video game.  Our web search led us to this Insect Company Oddities page on mounting a specimen. Here is a UK Natural History Museum page on Agrias claudina.

Agrias butterflies are in the subfamily CharaxinaePerhaps one of our readers will have better luck identifying the species, because it doesn’t appear to be Agrias claudina which we located on the Media Storehouse website.

A divergent possibility courtesy of Karl
Ed. Note:
Karl is one our our most important volunteers.  Karl frequently nails identifications that Daniel is just too busy to nail.
Hi Daniel and Don:
You could also check out the subfamily Biblidinae, particularly the genus Callicore. There are a number of species that look close, Callicore hydaspes (Hydaspes Eighty-Eight) for example. The distinctive underside of C. hydaspes appeared on WTB in 2007. Regards.

Thanks Karl.  We can always depend upon you for an interesting identification that has eluded us here in the offices.

Thank you Daniel, it does look like the Agrias Claudina lugens…WOW! The red is a little bigger on them, nice find, you guys rock at what you do.  I bought a Luna Moth years ago, and haven’t stopped buying since. My Morpho Hecuba (Sunset Moth), is my prize so far.
Thank again

Hi again Don,
Karl provided us with an even better identification, though at least we had the family correct.

Letter 11 – Mexican Fritillary Chrysalis from Belize

ask-whats-that-bug/Subject: Golden caterpillar
Location: Corozal Belize
February 10, 2016 10:21 am
Hi Bugman,
We found another caterpillar. This time, it one about an inch and a quarter long and about a quarter inch wide. But what is really cool is its coloration – shiny, bright gold. My photo just doesn’t do it justice. I hope you can tell us what kind a caterpillar it is.
Signature: Winjama

Nymphalidae Chrysalis
Mexican Fritillary Chrysalis

Dear Winjama,
This was once a caterpillar, but now it is a Chrysalis of a butterfly in the family Nymphalidae.  We have not had any luck finding any matching images.  We will contact Keith Wolfe to see if he can provide a species name.

Nymphalidae Chrysalis
Mexican Fritillary Chrysalis

Keith Wolfe Responds
Greetings Winjama and Bugman,
This is the very beautiful pupa of the Mexican Fritillary (Euptoieta hegesia) . . .
. . . a fairly common butterfly in disturbed habitats throughout Belize.
Best wishes,

Letter 12 – Blackened Bluewing from Mexico

Subject: Butterfly in Baja California, Mexico.
Location: Baja California, Mexico, southeast coast.
January 2, 2017 10:10 pm
I just submitted a butterfly about 20 minutes before this one. It was the wrong picture. This is the butterfly that my brother took a picture of in Baja California, Mexico, southeast coast, on January 1st. We researched it for a while but could not identify it. Wondering if it is immature.
Sorry for the wrong picture last time.
Signature: Dan in Nevada

Brushfooted Butterfly
Blackened Bluewing Butterfly

Dear Dan,
The best we can provide at this time is a family identification.  This is a Brushfooted Butterfly in the family Nymphalidae, and we could not find it listed on the Butterflies and Moths of North America site, which leads us to believe it is probably a mainland species that has strayed to the coast of Baja.  We suspect one of our readers will provide us with a species name and a link very soon.

Update:  January 4, 2017
We received a comment that this is a Blackened Bluewing,
Myscelia cyananthe, a species that appears to have much variation.  This individual on iNaturalist looks similar, but images on Butterflies of America and BugGuide look different.

Letter 13 – 88 Butterfly from Argentina

Iguazu National Park Butterfly
Location:  Iguazu, Argentina
November 8, 2012
Daniel, it’s a bug bonanza in Argentina! I found this beauty on a handrail overlooking Iguazu Falls.  There are nearly 300 species here including moths. The butterflies like to sit on the handrails to eat the salt residue left when human hands hold onto them. Would you please identify this one for me?
Allison Jones

88 Butterfly

Dear Allison,
Because of the pattern of the black outline around the four spots on the underwings, this butterfly, Callicore hydaspes, is commonly called an 88.  Do you see the number?  Here is a photo from TrekNature where it states the distribution is “south from Mexico to Argentina.”  

Letter 14 – Carolina Satyr

Carolina Satyr
Mr. Bugman,
Just wanted to reiterate how much I enjoy visiting your web site and reading the comments by those who send in nice photos of butterflies they have taken. It’s such a nice relaxing way to spend a little leisure time. Taking my camera along and looking for butterflies while I walk or ride my bike, is a fun way to enjoy the moment.

I have seen this little “Carolina Satyr” many times but have not been able to keep up with it as it flutters low to the ground and just keeps moving. It doesn’t seem to stop anywhere long enough for me to take it’s picture. But, today was a different story. After spotting it flying, I followed it until it stopped in a sunny grassy spot along the path.

It seemed not to care as I moved slowly closer to get a picture. I managed to get several good pictures as it profiled itself on a leafy plant perpendicular to the sunlight. It wasn’t there long before what looked like a “Fiery Skipper”, darted at it and it flew away. I didn’t see a picture of a “Carolina Satyr” posted on your web site and thought some might enjoy seeing a picture of it.

It was photographed on 4/29/08 here in Charlotte, NC on one of the city’s Greenway trails. I am hoping that many more people will send in butterfly photos and comments so that more pages can be added to your Butterfly section. I love going there to look. Thanks,
Patrick Crone

Hi Patrick,
Thanks for sending your kind letter and your photo of a Carolina Satyr, Hermeuptychia sosybius. Readers who want to know more about this woodland and grassy meadow species can search BugGuide.

Letter 15 – ? Caterpillar identified as Yellow Coster

What’s this bug?
Can’t find anything like this by searching online, perhaps you can help. It was feeding on what appeared to be a giant stinging nettle, secreting what I guess is nettle venom from its thorny spines. Length: approx 2 1/4″

Hi Paul,
We originally thought this might be the caterpillar of the Question Mark, Polygonia interrogationis. But, the following letter just arrived.

(04/10/2007) Caterpillar Identifications
Hello WTB,
Having reared and photographed several hundred species of butterflies (no time for moths) for the past 25+ years, I thought you’d appreciate knowing two IDs that I noticed while quickly scanning your caterpillar pages last night . . .

Caterpillar (04/27/2006) — “Yellow coster”, Acraea issoria (Nymphalidae, Heliconiinae, Acraeini); larval foodplant: many Urticaceae, e.g., non-stinging Boehmeria and Debregeasia in Taiwan and India. See pix of caterpillars and chrysalis at < > (accompanying text in Chinese). I hope this information is helpful and of some interest. Best wishes,
Keith Wolfe
Antioch, CA

Letter 16 – Caterpillar on the Violas

Can you identify this little guy for me?

Dear Karen,
It might be a Great Spangled Fritillary, Speyeria cybele, whose spiny caterpillars feed on violets. The butterflies are beautiful and well worth sacrificing a few viola.

The little guy hasn’t eaten much…….it seems well worth it……

(7/5/2003) Dear Bugman,
Thanks so much for the fast reply, and you were right on target (even if I did throw in the bit about the teeth – – I’m a professional writer – – what can I say – – ). I’m delighted to discover that he is a Giant Swallowtail.

I’ll nurture him and let him eat my lemon tree as much as he wants! I had continued to research last night, and I had mistaken him for a “horned” catepillar from Cuba (the photo was very similar). Perhaps this is why he didn’t respond to Spanish when I spoke to him!
Thanks again for your assistance. Your site is gret!

Editor’s Note: We lost Sarah’s original letter, which had a crazy exaggerated description. Here is a photo of an Orange Dog though.

Letter 17 – Guatemalan Cracker Caterpillar from Yucatan, Mexico

Subject: Caterpillar from Yucatan Peninsular
Location: Akumal ,Mexico
January 7, 2014 7:19 am
Hello bugman,
On a recent trip to Akumal on the Yucatan peninsular ,I spotted this striking caterpillar .It was feeding on some sort of climbing plant ,and was the only one present .Any help with ID would be much appreciated.
Signature: creaturesnapper

Brushfooted Butterfly Caterpillar
Guatemalan Cracker Caterpillar

Dear creaturesnapper,
We are pretty confident that your caterpillar is in the Brushfooted Butterfly family Nymphalidae.  We have not had any luck matching an image, so we are contacting Keith Wolfe to see if he can assist in the identification.

Keith Wolfe identifies the Guatemalan Cracker Caterpillar
Happy New Year, Daniel!  Ah yes, one of my favorite caterpillars.  This is a fourth-instar Guatemalan Cracker, Hamadryas guatemalena . . . (also from Yucatán Peninsula) (life history from El Salvador)  Download the pdf. Hamadryas-guatemalena-juvenile-biology-1.
Best wishes,

Ed. Note: 
We also have several butterfly images from our archives that we have identified as being Gray Crackers
Hamadryas februa, and now we are wondering if they might perhaps be Guatemalan Crackers.

Hi Daniel
Thankyou very much for the identification of my mystery caterpillar ,and indeed many thanks to Keith .w,also.
I did see a lot of Cracker butterflies on my trip and wasn’t sure if they were Grey or a different species ,so that question may also be resolved .
Thanks again

Hi again Paul,
Your identification request will post live to our site next week as we postdate submissions to go live daily while we are out of the office.

Ed. Note:  We wrote back to Keith to see if he could help identify what we have called a Gray Cracker.  Here is his response.

On Jan 11, 2014, at 6:25 PM
Very sorry, Daniel, but neither my expertise nor interest extends to adults.  FYI, some Hamadryas butterflies are notoriously difficult for even trained lepidopterists to identify.

No problem Keith.  Nice to know they are difficult to distinguish from one another.  I guess the butterflies don’t have the problem we people do or there wouldn’t be caterpillars.

Letter 18 – Charaxes Caterpillar from the Congo

Blue-horned dragon caterpillar
Location: Bas-Congo, DR Congo
July 26, 2011 1:31 am
Dear Mr. Bugman,
My 9 yo daughter and I are interested in knowing more about a cool caterpillar we encountered in the Kisantu Botanical Gardens here in Congo about 120 km west of Kinshasa. We appreciate any help you can give us.
Katy and her dad.

Charaxes Caterpillar

Hi Katy and her dad,
While we are unable to provide you with a species name, we can provide you with the genus for this horned Caterpillar.  It is in the genus
Charaxes, a group of Brush Footed Butterflies found in Africa.  According to the Butterfly Corner website, there are over 180 species of Charaxes

Members of the genus are also found in India and other parts of Asia where they are known as Pashas or Rajahs.  While this is not your species, you can see the similarities to this Madagascar native, the Green Veined Charaxes on the Online Fieldguide website.

Charaxes Caterpillar

Hi Daniel,
Would you please put me in contact with Katy’s dad regarding the following?
I might be able to provide a specific ID (the Charaxinae are one of my research subjects; it was I, not David Lees, who initially identified the Malagasy Green-veined Charaxes larva for Philip Bowles), but first need a bit more information and hopefully higher res photos.  Thanks very much!
Keith Wolfe

Letter 19 – Checkerspot Chrysalides and Caterpillar

Subject: Chrysalis
Location: Virginia
October 2, 2016 9:02 am
I’m wondering what kind of insect makes these chrysalis’s. We have 7 of then hanging from our siding. They formed in late September. Thank you!
Signature: Catie

Brush Footed Butterfly Chrysalis
Checkerspot Chrysalis

Dear Catie,
These are the Chrysalides of a Brush Footed Butterfly in the family Nymphalidae, though they do NOT look like a likely first suspect, the chrysalis of a Mourning Cloak.  We frequently hear of Mourning Cloak Caterpillars leaving the trees upon which they are feeding, often willow or elm, and metamorphosing in the eaves of a nearby home

Though Mourning Cloaks are Brush Footed Butterflies, the structure of the chrysalis appears to be different from your individuals.  We are going to request assistance from Keith Wolfe with this identification.

Chrysalides of Brush Footed Butterflies
Chrysalides of Checkerspot Butterflies

Great!! I now have 8 chrysalides and found this caterpillar on the same section of siding looking very slow and groggy. Let me know what Kevin says.

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar
Checkerspot Caterpillar

Thanks for sending the caterpillar image Catie.  Though it is quite blurry, it does appear to be a Mourning Cloak Caterpillar, based on images in our archive and on BugGuide.  We hope to hear back from Keith Wolfe regarding why your chrysalides appear to look different, less spiny and structurally different.  Do you have an elm or willow tree near where you have found these chrysalides?

We don’t have any elms or willows near by! It is curious.

According to BugGuide:  “Larvae eat primarily willow (Salix spp.) but also other trees and shrubs including Cottonwood (Populus deltoides), Trembling Aspen (P. tremuloides), American Elm (Ulmus americana), Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera), and Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis).”  Do you have any of those trees nearby?

We have quite a few cottonwoods and possibly some hackberry.

Keith Wolfe provides a correction.
Hello Catie and Daniel,
The pictures are less than clear, but nevertheless identifiable as a species of checkerspot, an educated guess being the Silvery Checkerspot (Chlosyne nycteis) . . .
. . . which feeds on many different plants in the aster family.  Females lay large clusters of eggs, with some of the gregarious caterpillars eventually choosing the same nearby protected location to pupate.
Best wishes,

Wow! Thank you! We’ve had a lot of insects around here lately due to the time of year and amount of rain we’ve had. I need you guys around all the time! Frankly, I wish it would get cold so they would all go away  except for the butterflies and chrysalides; I like them!

Letter 20 – Chrysalis of a Brush-Footed Butterfly from India

Subject:  Request ID
Geographic location of the bug:  Sanjay Van, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, India
Date: 09/02/2017
Time: 11:18 AM EDT
Request ID please
How you want your letter signed:  Aparna Laad

Nymphalidae Chrysalis

Dear Aparna,
This is the chrysalis of a Brush-Footed Butterfly in the family Nymphalidae.  We will attempt a species identification for you, but chrysalis identifications are not easy to make.

Letter 21 – Red Cracker Chrysalis from Brazil

Location: Juiz de Fora-MG – BRAZIL
January 8, 2016 12:48 pm
Hi Mr. Bugman, I found this beautiful butterfly´s pupae in a bamboo grove. It’s much prettier in person than in the picture. I tried to create it, but it was with parasites. Can you help me? Thanks from Brazil!
Signature: Marcelo Brito de Avellar

Red Cracker Chrysalis

Dear Marcelo,
We are sorry to hear this Chrysalis did not produce a butterfly.  We have not had any luck with an identification in our initial web search, so we are contacting Keith Wolfe who we hope will be able to provide us with an identification.

Red Cracker Chrysalis

Olá Marcelo and Bugman,
Your striking pupa is that of Hamadryas amphinome (Biblidinae, Nymphalidae) — here is the same chrysalis from nearby Belo Horizonte . . .

This species’ stacked eggs ( and gregarious caterpillars (here separated are equally impressive.
Um abraço,

Thanks so much Keith,
It appears the common name for
Hamadryas amphinome, according to the Learn About Butterflies site, is the Red Cracker.

Letter 22 – Nature’s Ornament: Chrysalis from Mexico belongs to a Sister

Subject: Chrysalis
Location: Veracruz, Mexico, 4,500 ft a.s.l.
November 8, 2015 10:11 pm
Spotted this beauty yesterday morning.
Any idea what it is?
Signature: Bianca Delfosse

Brush Footed Butterfly Chrysalis: Adelpha species????
Butterfly Chrysalis: Adelpha species

Dear Bianca,
We wish you had sent a higher resolution image.  We were relatively certain that this is the Chrysalis of a butterfly in the family Nymphalidae, so we began a web search with that information.  We found a very similar looking chrysalis identified on FlickR as that of a Common Sergeant,
Athyma perius, but alas, it is from China. 

Thinking your individual might be a New World relative, we searched its taxonomy and learned that it is in the tribe Limenitidini which included Admirals, Sisters and Sailors.  We then located a very similar looking chrysalis belonging to the Arizona Sister on Butterflies of America, and then we hit a block with additional similar looking images. 

Meanwhile we have contacted Keith Wolfe to see if he can provide any information.  We would still like a higher resolution image.

Hi Daniel,
Sorry about the small file size. Hope these are better (1.1 Mb). Tomorrow I’ll try to get a shot of the back of the chrysalis.
Wow! That’s great progress. I hope the two 1.1 Mb images I sent got through. I’ll try to get one of its back tomorrow.

Chrysalis of a Sister Butterfly
Chrysalis of a Sister Butterfly

Keith Wolfe Confirms ID
Hola Bianca and Daniel,
Good job, Bugman!  Indeed a member of the Limenitidini, more specifically Adelpha sp. (A. serpa-group).  With a handful of possibilities for Veracruz, here is one example from further south . . .

…and here’s the best shot I could get of the back of the chrysalis. Let me know if you need a different angle.

Sister Chrysalis
Sister Chrysalis

Hi again Bianca,
Thanks for going through all the trouble to get us a view of the other side.  We would love an image of the adult butterfly if you are lucky enough to get a few.

No problem Daniel! I will do my best. I’m curious to see what emerges. ?

Update:  November 30, 2015
Hi Daniel,
I’m sorry to say, I missed it. It was either preyed upon or destroyed by the storm we had a week ago. I skipped two days checking on it because of the storm (high winds, about 8″ of rain, low temps: 40-50F) and when I checked again, the chrysalis was broken in the middle, there was nothing inside  and what was left of it looked a bit rotten. So disappointing!! 🙁
Hope I spot another one so we can see who’s in there!!
Many thanks for all your help.

We are sorry to hear that Bianca.  Keep us posted if there are any future sightings.

Letter 23 – Chrysalis from Zambia: probably Common Leopard

Mysterious pupa with shiny silver spikes
March 3, 2010
We are in Lusaka, Zambia, living a bit out in the country. Today I noticed this jewel-like pupa latched onto a metal planter.

The pupa is dull pink with really shiny silver spikes along its case (almost like solder). The spikes are tipped with black at the very end. The length of the pupa is approximately 20mm.
We’ve seen a bunch of awesome bugs here in Zambia, but this one is particularly stunning.
Kim and Craig
Lusaka Zambia

Brush Footed Butterfly Chrysalis

Dear Kim and Craig,
We doubt that we will be able to provide you with a species identification for this beautiful Brush Footed Butterfly Chrysalis in the family Nymphalidae, but we are struck by the more than casual resemblance to the Chrysalis of the North American Variegated Fritillary, Euptoieta claudia, which is pictured on BugGuide.

Hi Daniel, Kim and Craig:
I think you are definitely on the right track, Daniel, and I may be able to advance this a little further. I think it belong to a group of Fritillaries known as Leopards or Leopard Fritillaries.

The most common one, the Common Leopard (also Green or African Leopard), Phalanta phalantha, occurs throughout sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia and the chrysalis looks very similar to this one. Although all of the images I was able to find showed a chrysalis with a pale green base color, I did find a reference to “whitish-pink” color variant.

According to most references the larvae prefer to feed on willows but apparently they will snack on a large variety of plants. Having said all that, there is at least one other species of Phalanta in Zambia, as well as numerous other related species, which could have similar looking chrysalises (hard to identify from the internet alone). Nevertheless, I think Leopard is a good bet. Regards.

Update on Common Leopard Chrysalis
March 6, 2010
Hello Kim and Craig,
More on your most likely African (Common) Leopard . . .
. . . and its uncommon pinkish pupal morph (this from Taiwan):
Best wishes,
Keith Wolfe

Letter 24 – Chrysalis of a Queen

Subject: Daniel – Queen Butterfly Chrysalis?
Location: Hawthorne, CA
January 13, 2015 8:10 pm
A while back you identified a Queen Butterfly caterpillar for me, and I’m wondering if the pictures I’ve included are the chrysalis of these caterpillars.
Today’s count in the back is 13 Monarch Butterfly chrysalides and five “hanging J’s” as I call them.

This excludes the chrysalides I’ve included here. We know there are many, many more that we haven’t or will not be able to spot as there are some overgrown spots this year. There’s still a smattering of caterpillars on the milkweed but they are fast running out of food.

We know you’ve been away from the office for a while, so no hurry should you be able to help with identification on this submission!
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Queen Butterfly
Queen Butterfly

Hi Anna,
This is most definitely a Chrysalis of a Milkweed Butterfly, and since it looks different from the chrysalis of a Monarch, we are confident that it is the chrysalis of a Queen, probably the Queen Caterpillar you submitted earlier in the month.

Queen Chrysalis
Queen Chrysalis

Letter 25 – Common Alpine: Underrepresented on our site

Butterfly ID
Location: Prince Albert, N. Saskatchewan, Canada
June 13, 2011 3:25 pm
Hello! I can usually find almost anything I need ID’d on your site, but this butterfly eludes me. (And I’ve been through 65 pages of pictures here, as well as any books I can find!)
It was along the riverbank of the N. Saskatchewan River in Northern Sask.
The view of it’s open wings are blurry but it appeared to be mostly a shimmer dark brown/bronze colour.
I am thinking a satyr or maybe a buckeye of some sort? Can you steer me in the right direction.
Thanks for any help!
Signature: Tami

Common Alpine

Hi Tami,
Alas, your request arrived during our absence from the office for a week, and we are trying our best to respond to and post as many letters as we can.  Your request has us most excited, and the reason you were unable to find your lovely Common Alpine,
Erebia epipsodea, on our website, is because your photos are a first for us despite the word “common” being a part of its name. 

Additionally, the tribe Satyrini, the Nymphs and Satyrs, are very underrepresented in our archives.  This is probably because these species are often associated with remote wooded areas and they are very rarely found in gardens.  BugGuide has some nice photos of the Common Alpine, however, there is no information regarding it nor is there any information on this group up to the subfamily level on BugGuide.

This is a sad oversight on this lovely group of generally brown butterflies.  Jeffrey Glassberg writes in his wonderful book, Butterflies Through Binoculars, the West, that they are found in:  “moist meadows and praries, from Rocky Mountain foothills to high elevations, occasionally above the treeline.”  We find you photos especially interesting because Glassberg also writes on the introduction to the subfamily Satyrinae:  “Most species rarely visit flowers.” 

We have a vague recollection of reading in the past that Satyrs and Wood Nymphs often feed on tree sap, rotted fruit, animal feces, and even putrefying flesh, however, we cannot recall where we read that.  BugGuide does have several photos though of Common Alpines nectaring from flowers. 

The Butterflies and Moths of North America website does indicate that adults feed on “Flower nectar.”  We did locate this online article on the Common Alpine.  According to the Colorado Front Range Butterflies website:  “Males patrol all day to watch for females.”

Common Alpine

Thank you so much for that speedy response.  You guys work fast there!
The links you sent were great, helping me to also identify a Northern cloudywing skipper.  I have actually ordered the Butterflies Through Binoculars book you mentioned, which will be a huge help and interesting reading.

I have, since taking those pictures of that quite large common alpine, seen a number of them quite a bit smaller and not nearly as brightly coloured, but all are in the meadow and forested areas along the river.  In searching them out,  I believe they are possibly a subspecies which is interesting!

While there is plentiful wild animal feces and dead animals in forested areas, I have only ever seen these butterflies on flowers, which for some reason, appeals to my sense of how well-mannered butterflies should behave.
Thanks again for your wonderful response.

Letter 26 – Common Glider from Hungary

Subject:  Hungarian Butterflies
Geographic location of the bug:  Hungary May 2018
Date: 08/15/2018
Time: 03:18 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello there!
I have sent a few of my butterfly pictures to you in the past and I thought you might like a couple more for your site from a trip I made to Hungary earlier this year. The first is a Common Glider, the second is a Scarce Swallowtail
How you want your letter signed:  Butterfly watcher

Common Glider

Dear Butterfly watcher,
We split your submission into two distinct postings so that we could categorize your two butterflies, which are from different families, appropriately.  The Common Glider,
Neptis sappho, is, according to EuroButterflies:  “A delicate butterfly, gently glides through dappled light in woodland and along woodland edges” and its habitat is

“Open woodland, clearings and woodland edges in dappled shade. Feeds on flowers, Euphorbias for example, and takes salts from mud” in “NE Italy and eastwards. Sporadic in the Balkans to north Greece. Double brooded in May/ June and July/ August.”  The common name is Pallas’ Sailer according to iNaturalist.

Letter 27 – Common Mapwing Caterpillars from Taiwan

Subject:  Decimators
Geographic location of the bug:  North-East Coast of Taiwan
Date: 02/15/2019
Time: 05:23 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Learn’d Fellows,
Every year at this time, my wild fig, having just sent forth it’s tremulous new leaves, is malevolently machete’d bare by these horned devil mowers. I have transplanted them to a wilder fig. Still I would  like to know my foe. Some deep-leaf sleeper-cells remain. Thanking you, in solidarity, ever-vigilantly.
How you want your letter signed:  Castellano

Common Mapwing Caterpillars

Dear Castellano,
We believe these are butterfly caterpillars from the family Nymphalidae, and that is where we are going to begin our research.  Thanks for providing the host plant.  That is often extremely helpful, and that information quickly produced this FlickR image of a Common Map Butterfly Caterpillar,
Cyrestis thyodamas, and the poster wrote: 

“The curious mind must ask, why is this caterpillar like this?  My observational response is that these larvae feed on the new leaves of Ficus trees. Developing shoots appear as tightly swirled red tips at the ends of branches and these caterpillars line themselves up along the axis of open leaves, heads closest to the origin of the leaf, with their spines imitating the fresh foliage that is developing.” 

We like the name Common Mapwing which is used on Learn About Butterflies where it states:  “The Common Mapwing is usually encountered singly or in two’s and three’s, in open forest edge habitats. Males are often seen on gravel roads or along pebble-strewn river beaches, where they bask in full sunlight while imbibing mineralised moisture.

They are initially nervous and difficult to approach but once they start imbibing they tend to remain at the same spot for several minutes.  Females are seen less often, but sometimes encountered along forest trails, or nectaring at flowers in forest gardens. 

Both sexes habitually rest beneath leaves with their wings outspread.  Less commonly they will bask on the upper surface of large leaves, but tend to only do so in areas of dappled sunlight.”  This represents a new species for our site.

Thank you for your gracious and comprehensive reply. I look forward to metamorphosis.
Their beauty is far from common.

Letter 28 – Common Palmfly Caterpillar and Adult from Singapore

Common Palmfly
Location: Singapore
January 21, 2012 10:24 pm
Hi there, i just thought that you might appreciate these pictures of common palmfly caterpillars and butlerflies that ive been nurturing on my roof.
i absolutely love this website, as i am constantly fascinated by bugs 🙂
Signature: Cassia

Common Palmfly

Dear Cassia,
Thank you so much for submitting your photos of a Common Palmfly Caterpillar and adult Butterfly,
Elymnias hypermnestra agina.  We were able to locate a link on the Butterflies of Singapore website where it is stated: “Field Observations of Butterfly Behaviour:  

The Common Palmfly is the most widespread species of its genus in the Indo-Australian region. Locally, it is also a rather common species with widespread occurrence across multiple habitats. Typically the adults are shade-loving, and usually sighted flying along the edge of vegetated area and in the vicinity of a clump of palm trees.

The adults have the habit of puddling and visiting flowers for mineral and energy intakes.”  The information provided on the Butterflies of Singapore websiteis very comprehensive, including a list of known larval food plants in the palm family like the cocoanut palm and fishtail palm.

Newly Metamorphosed Common Palmfly


Letter 29 – Crow Butterfly from Malaysia

black butterfly with blue spot
November 27, 2009
This is a butterfly specimen I got from my teacher. From the upper view, the bigger front wing is black in colour with some blue spot at the edge. However, with the black wing may appear to be purple blue in colour with the correct light reflection and the colour is shiny. The smaller wing at behind is dull in colour.
The lower view of this butterfly is black in colour with blue spot at the edge.
Malaysia, tropical rain forest

Crow Butterfly
Crow Butterfly

Hi again Kit,
Again, the Butterflies of Malaysia led us to believe this was one of the Crow Butterflies, and though we found another website with lots of species, we could not find an exact match, but we do believe the genus Euploea is correct.

Comment from Karl
Hi Kit:
I agree that the genus is Euploea, which includes a number of similar looking species. The closest match I could find is Euploea eunice leucogonis, the Blue Branded King Crow. You can go to for a comparison (click on the image for a closer look). Regards.

Letter 30 – Cruiser from Malaysia

Orange Cruiser Butterfly of some sort?
Location: Pulau Tioman, Malaysia
January 18, 2011 12:36 am
This is another that I ran across in Malaysia this summer. Looks like it is a Vindula of some sort, but all the pictures I’m seeing aren’t as orange, and don’t have as many eye-spots.
Searching Orange Cruiser gets me more bicycles than bugs.
A splash of color for winter, anyway.
Signature: Bert


Dear Bert,
Your identification is correct.  This is a Cruiser,
Vindula dejone, which we identified on the Butterflies of Malaysia website.  There is often individual variation within a species, and your specimen may appear especially vivid if it is a newly metamorphosed individual that has not lost any of the scales on its wings yet.  This individual on FlickR is showing some wear and tear and is not as brightly colored as the individual in your photo.

Letter 31 – Dingy Purplewing: imago and caterpillars

Dingy Purplewing
Here are photos of a Dingy Purplewing butterfly and some caterpillars in one of my Gumbo Limbo trees Assassin bugs will eat all the caterpillars so I raise them in the house if I can get to them in time. Normally you can only see where they were. We released almost 30 butterflies from the batch in the picture.
Tad Swackhammer

hi Tad,
Just imagine our elation to read your subject line for a species we did not have represented on our site. Then we were crestfallen to realize you did not provide us with a location. We are guessing you may be in Florida as all the submissions to BugGuide for the Dingy Purplewing, Eunica monima, originated in Florida. Your story of intervention is quite touching.

Letter 32 – Female Starry Cracker from Costa Rica

Subject: Black Butterfly, blue spots, white stripe Costa Rica
Location: Atenas, Costa Rica
July 24, 2014 8:28 pm
What kind of butterfly is in the attached image taken in Atenas, Costa Rica
Signature: Many thanks!

Starry Cracker:  Hamadryas laodamia
Female Starry Cracker: Hamadryas laodamia

We quickly identified your Brush Footed Butterfly in the family Nymphalidae as a Starry Cracker, Hamadryas laodamia saurites, thanks to the Butterflies of America website, and though there is not much information, we did glean that individuals with white stripes of this sexually dimorphic species are females. 

According to the Butterflies of Amazonia site, the common name is the Starry Night Cracker.  The site goes on the explain the common name thus:  “The butterflies are commonly known as Crackers due to the ability of the males of several species to produce a sound similar to the crackling of bacon in a frying pan. The sound is produced as the butterflies take off, and is made by twanging a pair of spiny rods at the tip of the abdomen against bristles on the anal claspers.

Only males can produce the sound, but both sexes can detect it – their wings have tiny hollow cells covered in membranes that vibrate in response to sound, and stimulate nerve endings. The purpose of the sound is not known. It may possibly deter competing males from occupying the same territory, or could act as a trigger to initiate the first response from a female during courtship.”

The chatty Butterflies of Amazonia site also states:  “Photographing Hamadryas can be a frustrating experience, as both sexes spend most of their time basking high up on tree trunks, often 10 metres or more above the ground. They sit there for hours  with wings outspread, always facing downwards to keep a watchful eye for potential mates. At times they descend and bask much lower down, at a height of just a couple of metres, but at the slightest disturbance they immediately fly back to the tree top.

They remain there until the intruder has left the vicinity, and then descend the tree trunk in a series of short hopping flights, dropping a short distance each time until after half an hour or so they have resumed their original position.”  Other than being dead, the specimen you photographed appears to be in perfect condition, showing no wear on the wings, which causes us to speculate that it fell victim to a blood-sucking predator, like possibly a robber fly.

Thank you so much!!!  Really appreciate how quickly, and how thoroughly you answered my question.

Letter 33 – Four Spot Green Sailor from Colombia

Subject: butterflies/moths
Location: Colombia, South America
March 28, 2016 10:28 am
Hello Bugman, well, here are a few insects that I haven’t’ been able to identify. I was travelling through Colombia in January when I spotted these interesting bugs. If you can help me with these critters I’d be eternally grateful!
Happy Easter!
Signature: Coral

Four Spot Green Sailor
Four Spot Green Sailor

Dear Coral,
We know one of these images was left over from the last time you sent a submission, and we are going to request that in the future you please limit the images in one request to a single species, unless there is a very good reason to submit multiple species, like a predator/prey relationship or a mutually symbiotic relationship, or perhaps if they are closely related. 

Though we question the term “spots” with relation to this lovely creature, your butterfly is Dynamine postverta, commonly called the Four Spot Green Sailor which we learned on the Project Noah site.  We verified that identification on Learn About Butterflies where we also learned:  “Most Dynamine species have highly reflective bluish or greenish uppersides, often in combination with a dark apex and borders. Dynamine postverta is easily recognised by the group of 4 squarish dark spots on each forewing.

The underside is similar to that of other Dynamine species, being white, marked with narrow bands of orange. In common with several other species there is also a pair of blue-centred submarginal ocelli on the underside hindwings.  Dynamine postverta ( previously known as D. mylitta ) is the commonest and most widespread member of the genus, being found throughout most tropical and subtropical areas of central and South America, from Mexico south to Argentina and Paraguay.” 

We also learned:  “The butterflies are very active in hot sunny conditions, when they can be seen flying rapidly in zig-zag fashion, investigating along forest tracks. In the cooler temperatures of early morning they can often be found basking on foliage, usually with their wings held half-open. 

Males visit dry river beds, and damp ground along sunlit forest tracks and roads. They habitually flick their wings open while moving about in a fairly erratic fashion as they probe for minerals on the ground.”  The Mexican subspecies is pictured on Butterflies of America.

Hi Daniel, Thank you so much for helping me with the identification of my butterflies!!! It’s so exciting to be finally able to name them!  Keep up the great work!

Letter 34 – Grayling from Holland

Ketchup loving butterfly
July 29, 2009
My family and I were on a vacation in Holland, and during a picnic in the Hoge Veluwe national park this overly friendly butterfly decided to share my 6-year-old son’s hotdog sandwich.
Whatever it’s real name, I think it should be changed to Amicus ketchophilus, it being so friendly and fond of ketchup!
Hoge Veluwe, Holland

Grayling from Holland
Grayling from Holland

Hi Ben,
We did a web search of “butterflies holland” and were led to the Butterflies and Moths of the Netherlands website.  We searched the thumbnails and quickly identified your Grayling,
Hipparchia semele, which is called Heivlinder in Dutch.

The Butterflies and Moths of Europe and North Africa website has images with open wings.  The Grayling is one of the Satyr butterflies that are often attracted to fermenting fruit, and the ketchup is perfectly consistent with their dietary preferences.

Letter 35 – Great Eggfly from India

Subject:  Large butterfly
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern India
Date: 11/11/2017
Time: 08:36 AM EDT
Hi:) I saw this in our garden by the beach ( south india) . we have never seen this in all the years we have been visiting the beach! Am hoping you can help us spot which one this is..thank u Mr.Bugman:)
How you want your letter signed:  Atreyu Samuel

Great Eggfly

Dear Atreyu,
We wish you had sent a higher resolution image.  We feel confident that this is a male Giant Eggfly,
Hypolimnas bolina, based on images posted to Butterflies of India.  According to Learn About Butterflies:  “The popular name ‘Eggfly’ refers to the extraordinary parental behaviour of several members of the genus including antilope, anomala and bolina, which have a unique way of safeguarding their offspring.

Prior to laying any eggs they they inspect various leaves to ensure that there are no ants present. The eggs of antilope and anomala are laid in large batches on the upper surface of a leaf, while those of bolina are usually laid in very small batches on the under surface. After ovipositing the females then stand guard over their eggs, forming a protective umbrella to shield them from parasitoid wasps.

They remain in this position until all the eggs have hatched and the caterpillars have dispersed, by which time the protective female has usually died in situ.”

Thank you Daniel so much for taking the time to reply to me. I really do appreciate it. I looked up the links you sent too. I shared it with my grandfather too, who is a bug enthusiast too.
I know ,I wish I could have taken more pictures…but it flew away:(
Thanks again and have a great week ahead!

Letter 36 – Gulf Fritallary Caterpillar

4 bug pix, ID for spider?
Sent some of these earlier, but got an error message so I’m trying again. First one is a caterpillar found on my passion flower vine, second one is a katydid in the basil. third is a spider (orb weaver?), the last is my favorite spider picture, great green and brown coloring. Can you ID the last one? Thanks! Love your site, found it when I was trying to ID a scary
bug which turned out to be a Jerusalem cricket.
Donna B.
San Diego

Hi Donna,
Your caterpillar is a Gulf Fritallary, Agraulis vanillae, which feeds on the passion flower. The adult butterfly is a pretty orange with silver spots. It is not a true fritallary.

Letter 37 – Heliconian from Vancouver Aquarium might be Banded Orange

Subject: Butterfly Conundrum
Location: Vancouver Aqurium, BC
December 16, 2012 6:15 am
Gidday Bugman,
I took this shot whilst on a visit to the unbelieable Vancouver Aqurium, an amazing place and a credit to Canada. This little fella was just sitting there minding its own business and it was just a passing shot with my 300mm Nikkor Lens

I’m from NewZealand and am amazed by your beautiful country – Thankyou. I hope you can help ID it for me as I’m compiling a photo book and I would of course like to impress my mates when they ask ”what bug is that”? Cheers
Signature: Stuart Bell

Banded Orange from the Vancouver Aquarium

Dear Stuart,
This butterfly is a Longwing or Heliconian in the tribe Heliconiini, but we cannot be certain of the species.  If you try to contact the Vancouver Aquarium, they may be able to provide a conclucive identification.  The Vancouver Aquarium Butterfly webpage indicates:  “The butterflies at the Aquarium come from Costa Rica. They are bred at a butterfly farm and are shipped in the chrysalis or pupa stage.” 

The two Heliconians pictured on the web site are not your species.  This beautiful chart from Nature.Com shows the diversity of Heliconians, but alas, only the upper wing patterns are illustrated.  We believe your individual is in the genus Dryadula because of its similarity to the image of a Banded Orange, Dryadula phaetusa, which is pictured on BugGuide

BugGuide lists its range as “Central Mexico to Brazil. Rare appearances north to Texas and Kansas” and since the butterfly farm which supplies the Vancouver Aquarium is in Costa Rica, this might be a correct identification for your individual.  We believe the Banded Orange is a good bet for a proper species identification. 

Costa Rica Hotels has a nice description of the species which is referred to as the Banded Orange Tiger.  More information is available on the Butterflies and Moths of North America.

Letter 38 – Immature Spiny Flower Mantis eats Brush Footed Butterfly

Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii
Location: Kampala, Uganda
September 9, 2011 12:07 pm
Hey Bugman
Thought I’d send in this photo of Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii that I found here in Kampala, Uganda. The mantid had just snatched a butterfly and was eating its head. There are probably 20 living on a clump of purple spiny flowers in the back garden.
Signature: Brian

Spiny Flower Mantis eats Butterfly

Hi Brian,
We are really excited to post your Food Chain image of an immature Spiny Flower Mantis, 
Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii, feeding on a Brush Footed Butterfly.  The coloration and shape of this Mantis blends beautifully with the flower upon which it has chosen to live.  The Keeping Insects website has a marvelous page on the Spiny Flower Mantis.  We are still trying to identify the butterfly. 

Letter 39 – Japanese Brushfooted Butterfly is Indian Fritillary

Butterfly identification
Having seen your web site mentioned on the BBC’s technology show Click (, I though I’d drop you an email to see if you can help me with this picture that my wife took of a butterfly in Japan. I’ve tried comparing it against images of other Japanese butterflies but I’ve failed to match it. I hope you can help.

Hi Philip,
As our readership becomes more global, we are under constant pressure to correctly identify many specimen from exotic locations. In your case, the best we can do is a family. Your butterfly is in the Brushfooted Butterfly family Nymphalidae. It seems to resemble one of the Fritillaries, but that is a guess. Even though we located a site devoted to Japanese butterflies, we could not find your specimen.

Update:  Identified as Indian Fritillary in a comment
March 26, 2011
We just received a comment identifying this as a female
Argynnis hyperbius, commonly called the Indian Fritillary.  We found a photo illustrating the sexual dimorphism in a mounted pair on World FieldGuide Website.

Letter 40 – Malachite from Puerto Rico

Subject: Puerto Rican Butterfly
Location: Puerto Rico
April 3, 2014 6:07 pm
Hi Bugman,
I’ve been following your website for years and greatly enjoy it, so I’m excited to finally be able to send in an identification request. A few weeks ago I took a trip to Puerto Rico with fellow biologists and artists, and we came across this butterfly.

I’m not sure which rainforest it was in, but the forest was about an hour away from the town of Manati and had several caves (we found a Puerto Rican boa!). I wish I could have taken a picture with its wings open, but I did not want to disturb it.
The photo was captured with the Canon 100mm f/2.8.
Thank you!
Signature: Casey


Hi Casey,
We are glad to learn that you have been enjoying what What’s That Bug? has to offer to the world.  This beautiful green butterfly is a Malachite,
Siproeta stelenes, and the Puerto Rico Wildlife website confirms is presence in Puerto Rico. 

According to the Butterflies and Moths of North America, the range of the Malachite is:  “Brazil north through Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies to southern Florida and South Texas. A rare stray into Kansas. Comments: The southern Florida populations have become established since the 1960s; presumably having emigrated from Cuba.” 

Despite being naturalized in North America, we haven’t ever received an image of this lovely species, and your wonderful image is the first.  We have seen many decorative butterfly collections that include the Malachite, so we suspect it is a species that is common on butterfly farms.

Letter 41 – Mating Longwings: probably Small Postman Butterflies

Butterfly Love
Sun, Apr 12, 2009 at 6:29 PM
My wife and I just got back from Wild Animal Park in Escondido, CA where they have the “Butterfly Jungle” exhibit. We got tons of pictures, but I wanted to get this to you as quick as possible. I forgot to take a picture of the butterfly “legend” so I don’t know what kind of butterfly this is. You can see that the male and female have different wing markings. Enjoy!
Bob K – Bug shooter
Wild Animal Park in Escondido, CA

Mating Small Postman Butterflies
Mating Small Postman Butterflies

Hi Bob,
We believe this is Heliconius erato based on images submitted to BugGuide from various butterfly exhibits from around the country.  There are relatively strict guidelines on species selection for butterfly pavilions in order to prevent the introduction of exotic species to new habitats.

We believe that either local species or those that can pose no threat if they accidentally escape are the only acceptable species.  According to Wikipedia, this butterfly is also known as the Red Postman, the Small Postman, the Red Passion Flower Butterfly, or the Crimson-Patched Longwing.

It is native to Central and South America and there are occasional strays to Texas according to BugGuide.  We also located a nice webpage devoted to Heliconius erato that shows numerous color variations.  Since the caterpillars feed on passion flower vine, it is probably an easy species to raise in warmer states where the food plant is an invasive species.

Letter 42 – Metamorphosis of the Common Palmfly from Singapore

Subject: An Intimate Photoshoot
Location: Singapore
September 9, 2013 10:27 am
Dear Daniel,
I thought you’d appreciate these beauties! I have loved rearing these common palmflies and it’s been sad to see them go – enjoy the photos!
Signature: Cassia

Common Palmfly Caterpillar Hatching
Common Palmfly Caterpillar Hatching

Dear Cassia,
Thanks so much for sending us your metamorphosis images of a Common Palmfly Butterfly,
Elymnias hypermnestra agina, which our readers can learn more about on Butterflies of Singapore where it states:  “The Common Palmfly is the most widespread species of its genus in the Indo-Australian region.

Locally, it is also a rather common species with widespread occurrence across multiple habitats. Typically the adults are shade-loving, and usually sighted flying along the edge of vegetated area and in the vicinity of a clump of palm trees.

The adults have the habit of puddling and visiting flowers for mineral and energy intakes.”  Sadly, there are no photos showing the opened wings, but we found one on ThaiBugs.

Common Palmfly Caterpillar
Common Palmfly Caterpillar

Your email did not provide much information.  Do you raise the caterpillars or did you just photograph wild individuals?  We believe we might have answered that question when we searched for a link in our own archive.  The only other example of the Common Palmfly in our archive was submitted by you last year.

Common Palmfly
Common Palmfly

Letter 43 – Metamorphosis of the White Rayed Patch from Mexico

Subject: Painted Lady?
Location: Cuernavaca, Mexico, alt: 1580 m
February 25, 2016 9:45 pm
Hi, I’m hoping you can help me again.
All three of the photos below were taken in October 2014, in the same plant in Cuernavaca, Mexico (altitude 1580 m). Those caterpillars were all over that plant for several seasons, until eventually there were enough to kill it. The butterflies are also very common. We believe they’re the same species, but obviously are not 100% sure.
From the caterpillar I thought a Painted Lady or Red Admiral, but the chrysalis and butterfly don’t match.
Thanks for any help you can provide.
Signature: Peculiarist

White Rayed Patch
White Rayed Patch

Dear Peculiarist,
This lovely little Brush Footed Butterfly is a White Rayed Patch,
Chlosyne ehrenbergii, which we identified on Learn About Butterflies where it states:  “The eggs are pale yellow in colour, and laid in batches of up to 200, on the underside of leaves of the foodplant, Buddleia.” 

We believe the leaves in your images are of butterfly bush or Buddleia, so the caterpillar and chrysalides are most likely the immature stages of the White Rayed Patch.  We will check with Keith Wolfe for verification as we cannot seem to locate images of the immature stages, though the appearance of the caterpillar and chrysalides are consistent with other members of the genus.

Chrysalides of a White Rayed Patch
Chrysalides of a White Rayed Patch

Keith Wolfe verifies Chrysalis and Imago, but questions Caterpillar
Hola Daniel,
Would you please ask “Peculiarist” to kindly send me (OK to share my email address) ONLY the caterpillar photo at FULL size?  The pupae look good for C. ehrenbergii, but the larva appears a little different.  Muchas gracias!

Caterpillar of a White Rayed Patch
Caterpillar of a White Rayed Patch

Peculiarist Corrects Attachments
Hi Daniel,
As I was updating my page I noticed that this is the same caterpillar I sent before (my photo folders are a bit of a mess, and I had this duplicated in another folder), that was tentatively identified as a Pine Moth caterpillar.

They do look alike, but I think with the extra information you have in these three photos White-rayed Patch is a more likely match. The food tree matches.
Thanks for your help, and I’ll be more careful in sending the most complete information I can in the future.

Keith Wolfe supplies some links.
Buenas noches James and Daniel,
Muchas gracias for the corroborating larval image.  Being endemic to Mexico, life-history photos of “Mariposa parche negra” are difficult to find online, so here are some examples . . .
Eggs >
Young cats >
Midsize cats >
Mature cat >
Chrysalises >
Hostplant >
Adults >
Mil felicidades,

Letter 44 – METAMORPHOSIS: WTB? upgrades for mobile device users

We will be undergoing a Metamorphosis
February 21, 2013
We are planning some upgrades for the next 48 hours that we hope will improve your abilities to use our services in the future.  With more and more of our users communicating to us on phones and iPads, we wanted to create a more user friendly platform for our mobile readership. 

We do not anticipate any major interruption to our services, but we anticipate emerging from this transition with a shiny, new appearance that doesn’t differ too radically from the aesthetic we have developed over the years, albeit with more flexibility in the way we can reach you.

Please bear with us through this transition.  We will not be creating any new posts during this transition, however, we will still be receiving your mail.  Thanks for your understanding.
The Bugman

Monarch Butterfly Emerging from its Chrysalis

Update:  February 23, 2013
Well, we appear to have gotten through our transition intact, and we hope that you like the subtle changes to the design and functions of our website.  This posting has already gotten its first comment from some facebook fan who felt compelled to tell the world that Alex “saw big bug” and we now anticipate even poorer grammar and syntax in the ever shorter communications that will come our way. 

We wish breathalizers could be installed on cellular telephones and other mobile communication devices because then perhaps communication from afar would be so much more civil once again.  What’s That Bug? does not want to get left behind as the digital revolution makes us ever so more out of touch with reality, but we promise our readership that we will continue to make our postings and comments from an office desktop computer even though that might be considered too old fashioned by all the techies and hipsters now clogging the information superhighway.

Subject: love the new mobile version
March 7, 2013 9:58 pm
Thank you thank you thank you for the new mobile version of your website.  My children and I can now enjoy whatsthatbug when we find ourselves with a few free moments and are away from our home computers.  Bravo!!
Huskers Kim, Rachel and Emma
Signature: Kim


Letter 45 – Milkweed Butterfly Caterpillar and Chrysalis from Solomon Islands

Subject: Solomon Islands Butterfly
Location: Honiara, Solomon Islands
October 4, 2013 7:45 pm
Our family has recently enjoyed watching a couple of beautiful caterpillars make their homes and emerge as butterflies. We’re wondering if you can help us identify them. The caterpillar is black and white striped with red ”horns”.

The chrysalis begins as a bright yellow but turns into a shiny gold when it matures, and the butterfly is black with a few blue spots on the lower end of the wings. Thanks!
Signature: Celloduo

Milkweed Butterfly Caterpillar
Milkweed Butterfly Caterpillar

Dear Celloduo,
We are pretty certain this is a Milkweed Butterfly Caterpillar and Chrysalis from the subfamily Danainae, but we have not had much luck identifying the species.  We thought it might be a Blue Tiger Butterfly, but when we researched the caterpillar on Butterfly House, though it looked similar, it was obviously different. 

Though the caterpillar and chrysalis of Euploea core, the Common Crow or Oleander Butterfly which is pictured on Butterfly House also looks similar, it is also obviously different.

Milkweed Butterfly Chrysalis
Milkweed Butterfly Chrysalis

Perhaps one of our readers will be able to assist in a species identification.

Milkweed Butterfly Chrysalis
Milkweed Butterfly Chrysalis

Letter 46 – Mimic from South Africa

Location: 75 n.miles offshore Angola, Africa
April 13, 2011 5:00 am
Dear Mr. Bugman,
Can you help me with the name of this beauty? We see a few of them at my workplace offshore West Afrika, especially at this time of the year.
Signature: Geir

Male Mimic Butterfly

Dear Geir,
Our first attempts to identify your butterfly, a Brush Footed Butterfly in the family Nymphalidae, did not prove very successful, but we found an online book, Ivor Migdoll’s field guide to the butterflies of southern Africa, and on pages 59-61, there are photographs of the life cycle of
Hypolimnas misippus.

We learned that the males and females are sexually dimorphic, meaning they appear quite different from one another, and that your butterfly is a male.  Additional research once we had a scientific name led us to the Butterflies of Guadeloupe and Martinique where we found some nice photos and the explanation:  “This species comes from the Old World, where females are mimics of the African Monarch, Danaus chrysippus (Linnaeus).

It may have been introduced via the slave trade, H. misippus is probably not a permanent resident in all islands where it has been observed.”  We also learned that the female is polymorphic, meaning that there are multiple variations of the coloration of the female, described as:  “Females of Hypolimnas misippus show a remarkable polymorphism whereas the males are monomorphic.

All four female morphs are mimics of morphs of Danaus chrysippus, and genetics of female forms, male preferences and survival capabilities have been studied in Africa (review in D.A.S. Smith, in The Biology of Butterflies, 1984, R.I. Vane-Wright & P.R. Ackery eds, Academic Press, London). Two female forms only occur in tropical America, f. misippus and f. inaria (Cramer), the latter being very rare according to Riley. In Guadeloupe, f. inaria seems to be not so rare (the ratio misippus/inaria is 4/1 in Africa).” 

Though there are no photographs, the Butterflies and Moths of North America website does contain this information:  “Upperside of male is purple-black with a large white patch on each wing. The most common form of the female is orange above; forewing has a black apical area divided by a band of white spots, hindwing has a black marginal band. The orange female mimics an African butterfly, Danaus chrysippus.” 

The caterpillar food plants are listed as:  “Various plants in the mallow (Malvaceae), acanthus (Acanthaceae), morning glory (Convolvulaceae), and purslane (Portulacaceae) families” but the list does not include milkweed, the food plant for the Monarch.  Since the sap of milkweed contains toxic compounds that are ingested by the caterpillar, and the presence in the adult Monarch of the compounds results in them being avoided by predators, the fact that the Mimic females may be mistaken for the Monarch affords them protection they would not normally have.

The Butterflies of Africa page of the Learn about Butterflies website has nice photos of the female Mimic, and other common names like Danaid Eggfly, False Tiger and Diadem are provided.  In addition to Africa and the Caribbean, the species is also found in Australia and you can find information on the ButterflyHouse website.  Indications are the Mimic can also be found in Asia. 

Though this is not a Monarch, and though the photographs you supplied of the male do not even slightly resemble the Monarch, we are thrilled to have learned all of this fascinating information about the Mimic which impersonates the Monarch.

Letter 47 – Mystery Metamorphosis from Brazil probably Nymphalidae

Weird bug moulting
Location: Southeast Brazil
October 21, 2011 6:09 pm
I’ll be happy if anyone can tell me from which order does this bug belongs, I’ve found it during a nocturnal outing in a brazilian rainforest, seems to me like the emerging bug is a katydid nymph but the old skin looks like a lepidoptera!
Signature: João P. Burini

Unknown Insect Metamorphosis

Dear João,
We apologize for the lengthy delay, but we just remembered seeing your submission previously and we didn’t have time to respond.  Then your email got buried in our unanswered email pile.  We haven’t a clue what this creature might be, but we will post it in the hopes that one of our readers can supply some information.

Unknown Insect undergoes metamorphosis

Letter 48 – Nymphalid Chrysalid, we believe

Subject: Daniel – What’s This Thing!
Location: Hawthorne, CA
April 30, 2013 1:10 pm
Hi Daniel,
Hope all is well with you. I’ve not had any unusual sightings recently, so have been away from WTB. Today I spied something in a cactus grouping and cannot figure out what it is. I’m hoping that the photo is clear enough for you to tell what it is and maybe share with me?
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Nymphalid Chrysalid
Nymphalid Chrysalid

Hi Anna,
How nice to hear from you.  We always love your submissions.  We believe this is the Chrysalis or Pupa of a Butterfly in the family Nymphalidae, the Brush Footed Butterflies.  It reminds us a bit of the chrysalis of a Variegated Fritillary or a Buckeye.

Thanks very much.  I think it is a Gulf Fritillary chrysalis.  These butterflies are regular visitors to our little patch.  I’m guessing it chose the cactus for protection, but hope the butterfly makes it out unscathed!

Hi Anna,
We were going to look up the Gulf Fritillary Chrysalis to see if it matched, but we didn’t have time.  Thanks for the update.

Letter 49 – Juno Longwing Caterpillars from Mexico

Subject: Caterpillar ID
Location: Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico
November 7, 2014 5:56 pm
I took this picture today in Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico. Here it is November 7th. The temperature is around 70 degrees even though it is winter here. I have close to 40 or more of these caterpillars on a climbing vine in my backyard. I have noticed orange moths or butterflies around them once or twice. Any idea what they could be? I have no intention of getting rid of them but want to know if I should keep children away from them.
Signature: Maria V.

Brush-Footed Butterfly Caterpillars
Juno Longwing Caterpillars

Dear Maria V.,
We feel confident that these are Brush-Footed Butterfly Caterpillars from the family Nymphalidae, but we are not certain of the species.  Are you able to provide us with the name of the vine they are feeding upon?  Often knowing the food plant is an excellent way to search for the identity of an insect that is feeding.  Meanwhile, we will attempt to contact Keith Wolfe to see if he recognizes these caterpillars.  We do not believe they pose any threat to your children, though the spines may be prickly.

Brush-Footed Butterfly Caterpillars
Juno Longwing Caterpillars

I managed to get an ID from a local butterfly expert about 45 minutes ago.  They are Dione Juno caterpillars and they are feeding on a Passion flower vine.  Completely harmless.  I am excitedly watching them and hope to have butterflies in about 20 days.  You guys are awesome and let me know if you want any insects in this area tracked down, photographed, or any other way I can help. I will totally be donating!!
Thanks for all the awesome work you do 🙂

Thanks for letting us know.  Them being Longwings in the tribe Heliconiini makes sense because we thought they looked similar to Gulf Fritillary Caterpillars, a related species.

Letter 50 – One Spotted Prepona from Colombia

Subject: butterflies/moths
Location: Colombia, South America
March 28, 2016 10:28 am
Hello Bugman, well, here are a few insects that I haven’t’ been able to identify. I was travelling through Colombia in January when I spotted these interesting bugs. If you can help me with these critters I’d be eternally grateful!
Happy Easter!
Signature: Coral

One Spotted Prepona
One Spotted Prepona

Hi again Coral,
Though by our count there are five spots on the hindwing, yet for some reason your butterfly,
Archaeoprepona demophon, is known as the One Spotted Prepona.  We identified it on Neotropical Butterflies and verified that identification on the North American Butterfly Association site. 

Learn About Butterflies calls it the Demophon Shoemaker and states:  “Males perch on tree trunks or on foliage, sitting facing head-downwards and with wings half open. They take part in impressive aerial sorties, chasing each other in broad circles around the tree tops.

After each sortie they each return to their original perch.  Both sexes commonly feed at sap runs, rotting fruit, and less commonly at urine, dung or carrion. They descend from the tree tops in a series of steps, pausing for a few minutes at various points on the tree trunk or on foliage.”   Your individual appears to be feeding on rotting fruit.

Hi Daniel, Thank you so much for helping me with the identification of my butterflies!!! It’s so exciting to be finally able to name them!  Keep up the great work!

Letter 51 – Palmking from Malaysia

Subject: Big butterfly in peninsular Malaysia
Location: East coast peninsular Malaysia
January 18, 2013 10:00 am
Hello! Found these two beauties outside my hotel room in peninsular Malaysia. A big bulky butterfly and some sort of katydid that wasn’t very pleased with my presence.
Help me identify them please! Love the website by the way.
Signature: spl0uf


Dear spl0uf,
Narrowing down an identification to the family is often a great help when searching the internet.  This is a Brush Footed Butterfly in the family Nymphalidae, a group that can be identified by examining the legs.  This family has a modified first pair of legs that are not used for walking, and they stand and walk on the remaining two pairs of legs. 

We quickly identified your Brush Footed Butterfly in the family Nymphalidae as a Palm King Butterfly, Amathusia phidippus gunneryi, on the Science Photo Library website.  Searching with that scientific name, we found the Sambuibutterflies website where it is called the Palmking, Amathusia phidippus phidippus, and this information is provided:  “The member of this family that you are most likely to see, being very common wherever coconut palm trees occur.

It flies at dawn and dusk, and will often fly into people’s homes when they put the lights on in the evening. During the day, it hides away from the sun, but is easily disturbed, darting away quickly to find a more undisturbed roost.  There are several very similar species, and the only way to be certain of their true identity is to check secondary sexual characteristics in the male. It does not help that all the species exhibit a high level of variation in the shade and width of the pale bands.” 

We believe that the author of that quote incorrectly identified those qualities as belonging to the family when genus should have been specified.  We did notice the crepuscular flight times, dawn and dusk, noted elsewhere, and it seems by your photo that this Palmking was attracted to the indoor lights of your hotel room. 

The 1964 Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society published an article entitled An Unusual Abundance of Amathusia phidippus (Amathusiidae) in Cebu, Philippines by Julian N. Jumalon that begins with this poetic paragraph:  “Few are the hamlets and countrysides in the Philippines where Amathusia phidippus (Linne), a large brown butterfly, is not a familiar sight at twilight.

Its hasty, jumpy flight, large size, and habit of gamboling if several are around, sets it apart from other crepuscular fliers such as species of the satyrid genus M elanitis. Likewise, one seldom comes across banana and coconut groves which do not have a colony of a form of phidippus. Cebu’s subspecies is Amathusia phidippus pollicaris Fruh.”  We will work on the other identification and create a unique posting. 

Letter 52 – Brushfooted Butterfly from Ecuador is Dynamine sara

Subject: Butterfly
Location: Yunguilla Valley, Ecuador
June 11, 2014 10:08 pm
June 9, 2014, I photographed this small blue butterfly near our house in the Yunguilla Valley, Azuay Province, Ecuador, 53 km southwest of Cuenca, EC. It’s wingspan is probably less than 3 cm. We are in the mountains of the Yunguilla Valley at an elevation of about 1900 meters. I haven’t seen this particular butterfly before and have only seen this one.
Signature: Kathie Sedwick

Possibly Brush Footed Butterfly
Brush Footed Butterfly is Dynamine sara

Hi Kathie,
This is a lovely butterfly, and we believe it might be a Brushfooted Butterfly in the family Nymphalidae.  For some reason, we are having internet problems this morning which is slowing down our research.  To further complicate things, we are about to leave town for a spell, and we want to get this posted, however, identification may take some time.

Thank you for your fast response.  That could narrow it down some for me.  Have a good trip!

Update:  Dynamine sara
Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash of Insetologia, the Brazilian equivalent of What’s That Bug?, we have verified that this is
Dynamine sara thanks to Pinterest and Butterflies of America.

Letter 53 – Possibly Common Bush Brown from the Philippines

Subject: Moth
Location: Angeles City, Luzon Philippines
November 14, 2013 11:46 pm
I think this is a moth. Found on wall of apartment building in Angeles City, Luzon, int he Philippines 15 November 2013.
Signature: Joe

Possibly Common Bush Brown
Possibly Common Bush Brown

Dear Joe,
This butterfly is definitely a member of the Brushfooted Butterfly family Nymphalidae, but we cannot say for certain what it is more specifically.  It does resemble number 340 on the Philippine Butterflies website, the Common Bush Brown,
Mycalesis perseus

This seems to be a highly variable species, and the photo of the living specimen on Butterfly House, where it is called the Dingy Bush Brown, looks quite similar to your individual.  Maybe Karl will have better luck on this one.

Dear Daniel,
Thanks for your ID. First time I have seen this one. I appreciate your assistance.

Letter 54 – Request Regarding PHoto from our archives

Neon colored butterfly
Location: Not sure
July 16, 2011 12:38 pm
Hey Bugman,
I once saw a picture of the most gorgeous butterfly on this site. It was black with neon colored blotches on its wings. I think its had neon pink and/or blue.
Can you please tell me the name of this butterfly, its absolutely gorgeous and I wanted to show my girlfriend.
Signature: Silver

88 Butterfly

Hi Silver,
The very first image we thought of was a photo of a specimen from a vintage insect collection that we posted that was identified as one of the 88 Butterflies in the genus
Callicore.  Here is another image from our archives of the closed winged view of another living member of the genus. 

We would suggest that you search our Butterfly archives if that is not the image you recalled.  You can scroll down our home page and click on the butterfly link in the column on the left side of the page.

Letter 55 – Scotch Argus

beetle, caterpillar and butterfly
Location: Salzburg, Austria
August 9, 2011 5:21 am
I’m putting together a photo album of all the animals I come across walking with my daughter. I’d like to be able to tell her more than ”this is a bug”, and I’m hoping you can help… These were taken in Salzburg, Austria in August.
Signature: Craig Potter

Scotch Argus

Hi Craig,
We are certain that you can appreciate the amount of research that it takes to identify a single unknown species, and three requests from different families in a single email is just too much for our limited editorial staff to handle.  That could take hours. 

We decided to concentrate on your butterfly which belongs to the family Nymphalidae, the Brush Footed Butterflies, and furthermore, we knew it was a member of the tribe Satyrini, the Alpines, Arctics, Nymphs and Satyrs.  We believed it to be in the genus Erebia, the Alpines, and as you can see from this BugGuide example of the North American species, they are remarkably similar looking. 

We believe you have photographed a Scotch Argus, Erebia aethiops, which we found pictured on, however, we stopped as soon as we found a close visual match.  Eurobutterflies lists the distribution as:  “Hills of central and eastern France to Belgium and eastwards to Russia and the northern Balkans. Outlying populations in Scotland and two sites in northern England.” 

There is also this additional note that supports your August sighting:  “It emerges later in the year than most butterflies so it appears fresh when most others are worn.”  Should you be so predisposed to have an exact identification, you may want to view the other 40 members of the genus that are found on Matt Rowlings’s European Butterflies website. 

As we stated earlier, we quit when we found one that looks close, and we feel that an expert probably needs to physically examine a specimen to be certain since this information is also posted on the species page:  “Identification: The usual Erebia identification problems arise with this species. However, helpful features are
– underside hw broad post discal band is pale white or yellowy brown and ground colour is rich chocolate brown
– underside basal area usually distinct (especially in the female) and same colour as post discal band
– wing fringes are dull grey, in the female they are weakly chequered.
– orange markings are bright and the eye spots intense. Overall, rich colouration.
– scent brand in male distinct.”
P.S.  What you believe to be a beetle is actually a Tiger Moth in the subfamily Arctiinae.  

Letter 56 – Striped Blue Crow Caterpillar from Thailand

Subject: identify
Location: Korat.Thailand
December 4, 2016 1:46 am
Found thi caterpillar on a plant in the garden.Have not been able to identify it ,despite trying many sites.Have found one similar but not identical.
Signature: roberthai

Striped Blue Crow Caterpillar
Striped Blue Crow Caterpillar

Dear roberthai,
Based on images posted to Butterfly Circle, Fotolia and Project Noah, we feel confident that this is the Caterpillar of a Striped Blue Crow,
Euploea mulciber.  Butterflies of Singapore has a nice page detailing the life cycle of the Striped Blue Crow.  

Striped Blue Crow Caterpillar
Striped Blue Crow Caterpillar

thankyou.I dont think i ve spotted that one yet.It is certainly a cool  caterpillar.I used to collect butterflies and moths as a boy.Im 67 now
and still find them fascinating.Thankyou once again.

Letter 57 – Sword Grass Brown from Australia

Australian Butterfly
June 1, 2010
Hi again Bugman. It’s handy to have your camera around at all times: I always have difficulties getting decent photos of butterflies, but this morning, on the first winter day in Australia, I spotted this beautiful specimen on the window of our deck. Maybe it was a bit stiff because of the ‘cold’ (about 60 degrees Fahrenheit). I haven’t been able to identify it yet, so if you can, I’d be thrilled!
Sydney Australia

Sword Grass Brown

Hi Ridou,
We thought this must be a Satyr or Wood Nymph in the subfamily Satyrinae of the Brush Footed Butterfly family, so we did a web search.  We quickly found an image of the Sword Grass Brown, Tisiphone abeona, on the TrekNature website

Another posting on TrekNature has this information:  “a common medium sized butterfly of the coastal forests of south-eastern Australia. With a wingspan of 52mm and a habit of patrolling walking tracks and bush trails, this is a well-known butterfly.

They rarely fly more than 2m off the ground and are active from September to April. Their common name is related to their host plant, sword grass (Gahina sp), a tall stiff grass with razor sharp edges.

Letter 58 – The Knight: Caterpillar

Hi Daniel,
It’s me again…I came across this nasty looking caterpillar (see attached file) among the bushes & I think they belong to the species called “Lebadea Martha Parkeri” (The Knight). Just wondering if you can confirm this. Thanks once again for your valuable help. Cheers,

Hi again Eddie,
Once you had provided us with all the information, our google search was easy, but one of the first sites we found had a suspiciously familiar looking image. Sure enough, it was your exact photo. Reading the content revealed it as your web site, Living the Simple Life.

We continued to search for proof that your identification was correct, and found the The Caterpillar Gallery of the Butterfly Interest Group of Singapore which contains an image of the caterpillar of The Knight, Lebadea martha parkeri, and it looks like a match to your caterpillar, so we agree with your identification.

Letter 59 – Tourism Billboard: What’s Wrong with this Picture???

Imposter on a Poster

Read more