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Hackberry emperor

Asterocampa celtis


This is the first time I've been able to capture both the adult and larvae of a butterfly species in the same frame. The larvae or caterpillar has a body that has numerous tiny yellowish-white, raised, seta-bearing bumps (chalazae). Some of the chalazae are arranged to form narrow stripes on the back and sides. Its head is brown with a pair of stout black horns dorsally. The adults can have some variation in appearance. Brown or grey with white markings and a row of dark eyespots on the hind wings. To differentiate from the Tawny emperor there is a dark eyespot and white markings on the forewing that the Tawny emperor doesn't have (seen in pics 3 and 4 -- though somewhat faint because of an older specimen). This is a female -- males are darker.


Spotted on a log along the "Hackberry Trail" at the National butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. All along this long trail are hackberry trees, the host plant for Asterocampa celtis.

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Brian38 5 months ago

Thanks for your kind comments, Sukanya and Neil. It was a curious interaction.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 5 months ago

Beautiful spotting, Brian. Awesome notes too!

SukanyaDatta 5 months ago

The first shot is so sweet...almost as if the caterpillar is me in 2020 will turn into that in 2021!

Spotted by

Mission, Texas, United States

Spotted on Nov 10, 2020
Submitted on Jan 6, 2021

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