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Maker of butterflies with a penchant for antiquated art supplies and good gin. firstname.lastname@example.org / lepcurious.blogspot.com/
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Hi there. You have found a Tobacco Hornworm (Maduca sexta) that has been parasitized with Braconid wasps (Cotesia congregatus). The white structures on the outside of the caterpillar are the the cocoons of the Braconid wasps. The caterpillar will likely not live, but there will be lots of new Braconid wasps in the world.
That certainly does look like mating behavior. The darker of the two butterflies is indeed the female and the male is brighter colored. If you want to know way more about butterfly mating than you are possibly interested in, here's a good paper (that is not behind a pay wall) http://journals.iupui.edu/index.php/ias/...