For some reason, our yard is caterpillar central this week. Here’s what we found in the last two days.
At least eight queen caterpillars on the milkweed plants.
This caterpillar is on the milkweed too, but it looks a bit different. It only has two pairs of black filaments, instead of three.
That’s because this one is a monarch caterpillar, not as common in the Phoenix area.
What’s this on the grapefruit? Looks like a bird dropping with a head.
That’s a young orange dog caterpillar, which turns into a beautiful giant swallowtail butterfly. I have an older post with more information about those. In that year we found caterpillars in August.
This morning we looked way up into the desert willow tree and there’s yet another caterpillar.
It was probably 18 to 20 feet in the air, and still big enough I could get this photograph with a telephoto lens. I would say it is five inches long, maybe six. Based on past experience, I know this is a caterpillar of the rustic sphinx moth, Manduca rustica.
We had a lot of choices for “Bug of the Week” today, but this beauty won the contest.
We went hiking in Ramsey Canyon in southeastern Arizona. These butterflies were flying everywhere.
Finally we found some on the ground that were still enough for a photograph.
The butterfly is the California sister, Adelpha bredowii. Can you see the orange tube that is its mouthpart probing the ground?
The butterflies were performing a behavior known as puddling. They are thought to pick up minerals and/or salts from this behavior. Usually puddling butterflies are around actual water-filled puddle or damp ground. This one seems to be probing between rocks.