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Monarch caterpillar

Danaus plexippus

Habitat:

Unknown variety of milkweed in school garden

Notes:

Plant currently has about 20 caterpillars of various size

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11 Comments

DianePlatcoBrooks
DianePlatcoBrooks 8 years ago

That generation won't make it back to Canada, but its offspring will. It may take several generations to work back up north, after the winter in Mexico.

DaneCole
DaneCole 8 years ago

quite the travelers.

DaneCole
DaneCole 8 years ago

This is the generation that will come back to canada as butterflies, after going all the way down to mexico!

ForestDragon
ForestDragon 8 years ago

Nice spotting! They are beautiful larvae!

They do occasionally have darker and lighter patterning. Here are some other examples:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/459680/bgi...
http://bugguide.net/node/view/166014/bgi...

Samantha, would you please add the scientific name to your spotting, since you know the species. That way it can be added to the database and removed from the "unknowns". It looks like you might have some repeat pictures as well.

DianePlatcoBrooks
DianePlatcoBrooks 8 years ago

So you actually had two dark caterpillars? Actually I think they're fine. I think you're probably talking about a virus that they can get (NPV) and they turn black, ooze black liquid and die. I don't think yours has that. I had dark larvae that looked just like yours. They pupated and turned out to look like normal monarchs.

SamanthaSindoris
SamanthaSindoris 8 years ago

And just uploaded. Also a normal colored on in the background of previous pics.

SamanthaSindoris
SamanthaSindoris 8 years ago

I took both pictures at the same time, just one was in a shady spot of the plant and the other higher up in the sun. I've been reading up and I wonder if they have a disease (from a soil bacteria, I think) or are just a different coloration. There were other regular colored ones on the plant as well (I have a blurry pic I haven't uploaded.

DianePlatcoBrooks
DianePlatcoBrooks 8 years ago

What makes you think they're different individuals Samantha?

SamanthaSindoris
SamanthaSindoris 8 years ago

These are two different individuals. I wonder if there's a subspecies?

DianePlatcoBrooks
DianePlatcoBrooks 8 years ago

I hope it's a huge plant !
Yes he does look dark. I've had dark ones every now and then.

keithp2012
keithp2012 8 years ago

This individual looks very dark in color

SamanthaSindoris
Spotted by
SamanthaSindoris

Los Angeles, California, USA

Spotted on Dec 19, 2012
Submitted on Dec 21, 2012

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