Owl Butterfly Caterpillar with Tachinid Fly Eggs from Costa Rica

Subject: I named him Ryno
Location: Costa rica Jungle
April 27, 2013 5:07 pm
This is a little friend I found deep in the Jungle in Costa Rica. Anyone who what he is?
Signature: Ryno

What's That Caterpillar???
What’s That Caterpillar???

Dear Ryno,
We do not recognize this unusual looking caterpillar.  Generally Butterfly Caterpillars are not hairy, but we suspect this might be a Nymphalid Caterpillar.

Keith Wolfe responds to our identification request
Greetings “Ryno” and Daniel, this is a last-instar Caligo atreus (http://janzen.sas.upenn.edu/caterpillars/dblinks/searchplaycat4.lasso?-Search=GCAcaterpillars337&herbivore%20species=atreus).  Note the numerous white tachinid (http://www.nadsdiptera.org/Tach/Gen/tachintr.htm) eggs behind the head capsule, the inevitable doom of which it might possibly escape if pupation occurs before the maggots hatch.
Best wishes,

Hi Keith,
Thanks for getting back to us on this.  We didn’t realize those were Tachinid Fly eggs.  Good to know.  We hope this Owl Butterfly Caterpillar escapes being eaten alive by the fly larvae.

4 thoughts on “Owl Butterfly Caterpillar with Tachinid Fly Eggs from Costa Rica”

  1. Hi, I think that may be a species of Caligo, aka Owl Butterfly. We raise a lot of these in Montezuma, CR, and some of the earlier instars look very similar to this picture.

    • Thanks Arlo,
      That confirms our suspicion that this is a Nymphalid. We have put in an identification request with Keith Wolfe and we are awaiting his response.


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