Butterfly Gardens forum: Post your photos of caterpillars here

 
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Imagemarsue
Mar 3, 2010 9:53 AM CST
Name: Marilyn (Mau)
South-central Missouri-in the
Zone 6b
We are starting a thread strictly for photos of the "cats" you have had in your garden. Please name the type of caterpillar and the name of its host plant.

Thank you.
ImageTexasPuddyPrint
Mar 3, 2010 8:31 PM CST
Name: Cat
Edinburg, TX
in the deep south tip of Texas
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

This butterfly uses a variety of larval hosts: Everlastings, pussy-toes, cudweeds, sunflower and Texas Groundsel.

I've found caterpillars on cudweed in south Texas. Not sure of the exact scientific name of the cudweed species but here is a photo of two caterpillars in a 'nest.' Best way to find caterpillars is to look for cudweed with bloom fluff bigger than normal. Will warn you, spiders hide out inside the fluff as well!!!

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

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ImageTexasPuddyPrint
Mar 3, 2010 8:44 PM CST
Name: Cat
Edinburg, TX
in the deep south tip of Texas
Ceraunus Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus)

This butterfly uses the flowers and buds of many legumes. I've raised them on acacia (huisache) and Scarlet Pea (Indigofera miniata) in south Texas. Have also seen butterflies laying eggs on Sensitive Brier (Schrankia uncinata).

Here is a photo of a caterpillar being tended by ants. Best way to find caterpillars is to check the branches for a trail of ants. The ants protect the caterpillar from other predators and in turn, the caterpillar secretes a honeydew like substance from 'ant organs' that the ants like. It appears the ants 'strum' on the caterpillar's back with their antennae to stimulate the caterpillar's ant organs. Perhaps the ants are just feeling around - but they seem to tap, tap, tap until the caterpillar complies. Note: You can see two protruding ant orgrans in this photo.

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

http://community.webshots.com/user/TraylorCatPuddyPrint

[Last edited Mar 4, 2010 5:50 PM CST]
Quote | Post #95369 (3)
ImageTexasPuddyPrint
Mar 3, 2010 8:51 PM CST
Name: Cat
Edinburg, TX
in the deep south tip of Texas
Reakirt's Blue (Echinargus isola)

This butterfly also uses the flowers and buds of many legumes. Mesquite and acacia trees are abundant in south Texas and they make use of those. I've raised them on Golden Dalea (Dalea aurea) in south Texas.

These caterpillars ant organs and are also tended by ants. Best way to find them is to look for a trail of ants. The caterpillar can also vary in color depending on what larval host plant bloom it is feeding from. They are tiny and often well camouflaged.

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

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ImageTexasPuddyPrint
Mar 3, 2010 9:06 PM CST
Name: Cat
Edinburg, TX
in the deep south tip of Texas
Theona Checkerspot (Chlosyne theona)

This butterfly uses Paintbrushes, Desert Foxglove and Texas Sage. I've raised these on Texas Sage - Cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) in south Texas.

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

http://community.webshots.com/user/TraylorCatPuddyPrint

ImageTexasPuddyPrint
Mar 3, 2010 9:11 PM CST
Name: Cat
Edinburg, TX
in the deep south tip of Texas
Tawny Emperor (Asterocampa clyton)

This butterfly uses Hackberry trees as a larval host. We get these butterflies by the thousands - they are quick to come to fruit and butterfly bait.

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

http://community.webshots.com/user/TraylorCatPuddyPrint

[Last edited Mar 4, 2010 5:53 PM CST]
Quote | Post #95420 (6)
ImageTexasPuddyPrint
Mar 3, 2010 9:15 PM CST
Name: Cat
Edinburg, TX
in the deep south tip of Texas
Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)

This butterfly uses passion vines as a larval host. I've raised them on p. foetida, p. incarnata, p. suberosa and p. biflora. They will pretty much use any passion vine except the red vitifolia.

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

http://community.webshots.com/user/TraylorCatPuddyPrint

Imagemarsue
Mar 3, 2010 9:15 PM CST
Name: Marilyn (Mau)
South-central Missouri-in the
Zone 6b
Cat, thanks for those very good photos and the informative comments. I learned something new today about the "ant organs". Thumbs up

You mentioned the American Lady butterfly--would that be the same as the American Painted Lady or is it a different butterfly?
ImageTexasPuddyPrint
Mar 3, 2010 9:18 PM CST
Name: Cat
Edinburg, TX
in the deep south tip of Texas
Mau - We get three species of Ladies out here.

American Lady - Vanessa virginiensis (uses cudweeds)
Painted Lady - Vanessa cardui (uses thistle, mallows, fiddlewoods)
West Coast Lady - Vanessa annabella (uses mallows)

Hope that helps :o)
My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

http://community.webshots.com/user/TraylorCatPuddyPrint

Imagemarsue
Mar 3, 2010 9:22 PM CST
Name: Marilyn (Mau)
South-central Missouri-in the
Zone 6b
Thanks--I have some photos of a butterfly which was ID'd for me on DG
a couple of years ago as an American Painted Lady. I will post them tomorrow on the chat thread.
ImageTexasPuddyPrint
Mar 3, 2010 9:42 PM CST
Name: Cat
Edinburg, TX
in the deep south tip of Texas
Mexican Fritillary (Euptoieta hegesia)

This butterfly uses passion vines, violets and damiana (turnera diffusa) as larval hosts. I usually find caterpillars on the damiana in south Texas.

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

http://community.webshots.com/user/TraylorCatPuddyPrint

ImageTexasPuddyPrint
Mar 3, 2010 9:46 PM CST
Name: Cat
Edinburg, TX
in the deep south tip of Texas
Mexican Silverspot ( Dione moneta)

This butterfly uses passion vines as well. I have raised them on passiflora incarnata.

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

http://community.webshots.com/user/TraylorCatPuddyPrint

ImageTexasPuddyPrint
Mar 3, 2010 9:49 PM CST
Name: Cat
Edinburg, TX
in the deep south tip of Texas
Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia)

This butterfly uses passion vines, flax, violets and sometimes convolulaceae as larval hosts. The caterpillar is very similar to the Mexican Fritillary caterpillar.

I've raised these on Nodding Green Violet (Hybanthus verticillatus) in south Texas.

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

http://community.webshots.com/user/TraylorCatPuddyPrint

[Last edited Mar 4, 2010 5:54 PM CST]
Quote | Post #95496 (13)
ImageTexasPuddyPrint
Mar 3, 2010 9:54 PM CST
Name: Cat
Edinburg, TX
in the deep south tip of Texas
Julia Heliconia (Dryas julia)

This butterfly uses passion vines as a larval host. I've raised them on p. incarnata and p. biflora.

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

http://community.webshots.com/user/TraylorCatPuddyPrint

ImageTexasPuddyPrint
Mar 3, 2010 9:57 PM CST
Name: Cat
Edinburg, TX
in the deep south tip of Texas
Zebra Heliconian (Heliconius charithonia)

This butterfly uses passion vines as a larval host. I've raised them on p. incarnata and p. biflora in south Texas. The caterpillars tend to stick close to one another.

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

http://community.webshots.com/user/TraylorCatPuddyPrint

ImageTexasPuddyPrint
Mar 3, 2010 9:59 PM CST
Name: Cat
Edinburg, TX
in the deep south tip of Texas
The chrysalis of the Zebra Longwing butterfly is quite freaky looking. I'd be scared if I came across a six foot one out in the woods!!! They remind me that vampire thingie in Steven King's Salem's Lot movie! EEEEEEEEEEK!!!

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

http://community.webshots.com/user/TraylorCatPuddyPrint

ImageTexasPuddyPrint
Mar 3, 2010 10:01 PM CST
Name: Cat
Edinburg, TX
in the deep south tip of Texas
Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)

This butterfly uses a huge variety of larval hosts. The caterpillars eat the flowering parts and buds of legumes and mallows.

Hairstreaks and Blues caterpillars are often tended by ants.

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

http://community.webshots.com/user/TraylorCatPuddyPrint

[Last edited Mar 3, 2010 10:02 PM CST]
Quote | Post #95523 (17)
ImageTexasPuddyPrint
Mar 3, 2010 10:05 PM CST
Name: Cat
Edinburg, TX
in the deep south tip of Texas
Mallow Scrub Hairstreak (Strymon istapa)

This butterfly uses a variety of mallows as larval hosts. I've raised caterpillars on Sleepy Morning (Waltheria indica) in south Texas.

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

http://community.webshots.com/user/TraylorCatPuddyPrint

ImageTexasPuddyPrint
Mar 3, 2010 10:22 PM CST
Name: Cat
Edinburg, TX
in the deep south tip of Texas
Marius Hairstreak (Rekoa marius)

This butterfly uses the flowers and buds of legumes as a larval host. I raised Marius hairstreaks on Duranta. A friend has raised them on Tecoma stans (esperanza aka Yellow bells). The caterpillars will vary in color depending on the color of the flower they are eating. The ones I had on duranta were purple...as can be seen here eating the purple flower bud. Other caterpillars that were feeding on the leaves were green. The ones my friend had on the yellow buds of the tecoma stans were yellowish! Very camouflaged indeed!

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

http://community.webshots.com/user/TraylorCatPuddyPrint

[Last edited Mar 4, 2010 5:58 PM CST]
Quote | Post #95565 (19)
ImageTexasPuddyPrint
Mar 3, 2010 10:31 PM CST
Name: Cat
Edinburg, TX
in the deep south tip of Texas
Tropical Leafwing (Anaea aidea)

This butterfly uses crotons as a larval host plant.

This is a photo of a caterpillar outside its leaf nest. Caterpillars tend to make a rolled up leaf nest and hiding out inside there.

Thumbnail by TexasPuddyPrint

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

http://community.webshots.com/user/TraylorCatPuddyPrint

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