Milkweed: Caterpillar

It this actually a caterpillar crawling up the stem of a milkweed I planted in our backyard?  It’s only about a half a centimeter long.  But is it a butterfly or a moth?  We planted the milkweeds to attract butterflies….

Caterpillar 002

Caterpillar 001

Photos taken April 11th, 2013


  1. Milkweeds are often home to the Monarch (butterfly) caterpillar and the caterpillars have strong stripes of yellow, black and white – quite beautiful really. Maybe the young caterpillar will change over time – I’ll be interested in your observations.


  2. a ranger told me once they are specific to certain plants, so maybe it is a monarch that hasn’t developed it stripes yet? Keeping checking on it, I’ll bet it will stick around as long as it doesnt get eaten. That will be a fun picture project too!


    1. I’ll have to do more research. I thought more than one type of butterfly might be attracted to a particular milkweed. I’ll keep my eye on the caterpillar as it develops. We have a LOT of birds. I hope it survives!


  3. Pretty much every year when I was a kid one of us in the family (usually me) would capture a monarch caterpillar, feed it milkweed, and watch the miracle of metamorphosis unfold. One of my favorite things about milkweed, though, are the vulval vestibules they create when the seed pods split open and those silky soft tufts spill out. Very cool indeed.


    1. I’ve checked out photos of monarch caterpillars, and they appear to have stripes around their bodies. This one looks to be solid green. My lens can’t get a better photo, unfortunately. It’s so tiny!


  4. COOL!!!! I’ve been wanting to plant milkweed for years! Thanks for the reminder – hopefully we can get some on the plan for next spring, i guess. I’ve added some to my waiting list on Annie’s Annuals so I remember them. 🙂 Have you checked out Annie’s annuals? I highly recommend them! Get their catalog (let alone read their descriptions online.) Makes you want to plant it all!!!



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