Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar

Subject: What’s this Caterpillar
Location: Lundar Beach, Manitoba, Canada
August 11, 2014 9:49 pm
Can you please help me identify this caterpillar? It was one of five found feeding on some Johnny-Jump-Ups /mini pansies. I saw one moult the skin around its head and antennae.nnHow long will it feed as a caterplillar before making a chrysalis, and then how long to be a butterfly or moth. Thank you for your help. I also found a milkweed bug nearby. It looks like a hex bug. I really like insects, spiders, snakes and frogs. My Noni photographs them for me.
Thank you.
8 yrs old
Signature: Jayden

Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar
Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar

Dear Jayden,
This pretty caterpillar is a Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar, and it appears to be nearly fully grown, meaning it will soon metamorphose into a lovely metallic Variegated Fritillary ChrysalisBugGuide has some valuable information, including:  “Permanent resident in south. Annually spreads and colonizes northwards usaully to southern Canada. Rarely encountered north of Great Basin west of Rockies, and north of southern California near Pacific Coast.”  BugGuide also states:  “Multiple generations per year (up to two or three in north, and four or more overlapping broods in south). Only overwinters in southern states. Overwintering stage is debated, but definitely as larvae, which are often found under logs, boards, and rocks during cold, and will wander around looking for food on warm mid-winter days. Perhaps can overwinter in all stages, depending upon the climate of a particular region.”  We interpret all that to mean that the lovely Variegated Fritillary may not be a permanent resident in your area, perhaps because the winters are too harsh for overwintering caterpillars to survive, though with global warming, things may be changing.  BugGuide data indicates sightings for Saskatchewan and Manitoba to be September and October, so perhaps this individual will emerge as an adult in the next two months, and that any progeny may not survive your winter.

THANK YOU!  Yes. That is the caterpillar for sure. My Noni and I thought it was a Crescent Butterfly larva.  But that caterpillar wasn’t an exact match.  Now I want to put one of the caterpillars in my bug keeper to watch it make it’s chrysalis.

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BugMan aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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