Caterpillar Days

Already Carrie has been gathering monarch caterpillars – over 140 last I heard!  Butterflies are all over the place and they have been busy, for now we are finding all sorts of caterpillars around.

This morning Gary came in with a thorny caterpillar he and Paul had discovered in some stinging nettles.  We looked it up in Caterpillars of Eastern North America by host plant, and there it was:  the red admiral.

The white markings on its sides were a good clue.

We will return it to the nettles so it can continue to grow and prosper.

About an hour later Pat, another volunteer, came in with this caterpillar:

Two times through the book and I’m no further along with an ID.  That’s frustrating.  But fortunately I have a back-up plan:  BugGuide.net!

As is usual with the folks over at BugGuide, I had an answer in less than five minutes:  yellow-striped armyworm.  AKA:  cotton cutworm.  Lots of variation in the colors of this caterpillar, some mostly brown with hardly any yellow or green.  Not a particularly exciting  insect, but good fodder for birds.  I could use one of those birds in the office right now, for the caterpillar has gone on walk-about and is now MIA.  It’s days are numbered in this office – it will never escape (and I will probably never find it).

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About Dahlem Center

The Dahlem Center is a non-profit nature center/environmental education center located on almost 300 acres just south of the city of Jackson, Michigan. The Center is one arm of the Dahlem Conservancy, which includes land conservancy and stewardship in its mission.
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One Response to Caterpillar Days

  1. Oooh, caterpillars! So many and such wondrous ones!

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