Bug of the Week: Queen Caterpillar

Fresh from the camera, today we have a stripy-faced caterpillar. (Yes, we still have insects out and about here in Arizona.)

stripy-face-caterpillar

Yum, the buds of the rush milkweed flower are tasty.

The structures that stick out behind the head that look like they might be antennae are actually called tubercles. Queen caterpillars have three pairs of tubercles, for a total of six. Similar monarch larvae have two pairs of tubercles, one set at each end. The tubercles are thought to help protect caterpillars from predators.

stripy-face-better

Where are the real antennae? Butterfly larvae do have two buds in the lower front of the face that will become the long antennae of the adult. Can you see the tiny light-colored "fingers" that the project on either side of the mouth?

When you start to look around the photograph, you start to notice other things. Take the winged aphid, for example. That is an oleander aphid.

stripy-face-better-with-extra

Notice anything else in this photograph? If you chose to, please feel free to leave a comment if you spot something. (I didn't notice it until I had the photograph on the computer screen).

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