Red Spotted Purple Caterpillars

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This morning started with watching a female red-spotted purple butterfly laying eggs in a young wild cherry tree.

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The female taps the leaves with her feet to be sure she’s in the right tree. Butterflies smell with their feet.

The egg on the left is definitely the egg of a red-spotted purple butterfly. Something’s not right with the egg on the tip of the leaf.

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This young wild cherry tree almost gets lost among all the other nearby growth nearby. All these pictures were taken in it.

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The caterpillar measured 5mm. The three I found were all approximately the same size. They usually dangle a small cluster of leaf pieces to attract attention away from the caterpillar. The predator must be an immature, just like the caterpillar.

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 The position of the caterpillar looks like it’s either paralyzed or dead.

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This last caterpillar looks a tad odd: maybe it just molted. What looks like antennae, is a split from the drying vein of the leaf.  The way the leaf is cut away, the bare center vein and the dangling leaf pieces are definitely done by the caterpillar of red-spotted purple butterfly.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Their odds of survival sure are low.

    Reply

  2. Nice shots. Those eggs have to be real small.

    Reply

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