Butterflies and Caterpillars of Note

Summer of '08 has brought many close encounters with caterpillars and butterflies; here's a sampling.

Common Ringlet on daisy.

Mourning Cloak caterpillar. These caterpillars are "gregarious throughout development," sayeth my field guide.

Death of an unknown caterpillar.

Voracious Black Swallowtail caterpillar chowing down on fennel before being relocated to the more abundant dill patch.

Black Swallowtail.

Unidentified caterpillar.

Monarch caterpillar on milkweed leaf.

Shimmering remains of Common Wood-Nymph.

Some kind of Sulpher...

Unidentified caterpillar.

Black Swallowtail

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail enjoying sunflower.

If you've made it this far, you're ready for a little game. Check out the first pic below and test your critter-finding skills. Click on the photo for a larger version—see anything unusual?
If you looked carefully, you might have noticed this fellow (or gal). A great example of cryptic coloration (camouflage). A fine example, also, of how an eye-spot can present a scary-looking, don't-eat-me message to potential predators (that's not the caterpillar's actual eye). As you can see, the caterpillar has begun building its cocoon.This is the larval form of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, pictured earlier on the sunflower.

For what it's worth, my preferred field guides for this genre are Caterpillars in the Field and Garden (Allen, et al.) and Butterflies Through Binoculars—The East (Glassberg).


Eva Yaa Asantewaa said...

These are wondrous, Gerry!

Matthew said...

These are great. Among guides, you may also want to look at The Princeton Field Guides Caterpillars of Eastern North America, by David L. Wagner. I'm looking up the un-identified ones now...

Matthew said...

Tentative IDs for the unknowns: I think the one that's dead as a parrot is a spotted apatelodes, Apatelodes torrefacta; and the one on your hand is a yellow bear, aka Virginiatiger moth, Spilosoma virginica.

Gerry Gomez Pearlberg said...

Thanks, Thew. I had a feeling you might be able assist! Now we gotta get you on mushrooms! I found a candy shop of 'em in the woods today, and will post next week.

Eva, glad you enjoyed these! :)