Butterfly catterpiller

Butterfly catterpiller

Morning at 7 am when I went to bring flowers for God I found a small Caterpillar feeding on its leaves and flowers

1 Like

Can you please name the flower and the caterpillar you observed??

How did you come to the conclusion that it was a butterfly caterpillar and not a moth caterpillar?

1 Like

Flower is plumeria pudica white !

Catterpiller is too small or just born to identify IMG_20190915_054632|451x500

small catterpiller feeding on leaf of plumeria pudica white https://stemgames.metastudio.org/uploads/default/original/2X/f/faa39b954545b9536b35727fa3436e11c57b50a5.mp4

how can we differentiate a butterfly caterpillar and moth caterpillar ?
what are the basic differences and similarities between butterfly caterpillars and moth caterpillars?

1 Like

Yes, that is an intriguing question. Differences between the adult moth and butterflies are more clear for the adult stage and to a lesser extent to the pupae. However, what criterion differentiates larvae is not clear. It is a common notion that moth larvae are hairy while butterfly larvae are less/ not. But this may not be the case always. This question still lacks a reasonable explanation. Waiting for it.

1 Like

@Harshad exceptions to the rule will always exist and infact it is a point of intrigue why they have evolved to be the exception. Infact, as is said, the exception maketh the rule.
But that aside, I would like see some hairy caterpillars of butterflies. Not spiny like the chocolate pansy, nor with forked protrusions like my favourite Baron. Just simply hairy like a Tussock moth caterpillar.

@VirenVaz, True, there are exceptions.
How are spines on butterfly caterpillars and hair on moth caterpillars different?
Are both not chitinous. Does that mean that length and density are what differentiates moth and butterfly caterpillars?
Several lepidopteran (includes both butterflies and moths) caterpillars have hair. How do we then distinguish moth and butterfly caterpillars (more and less hairy)?

Excellent. Can you name a few families of butterfly that have hairy larva. I clearly need to update my knowledge base.
I’ve obviously been labouring under some most false assumptions.
As for spines and hair and protrusions. I’m still going to say that the material may be the same but if the appearance differs then it can be used as a point of differentiation, would you not agree?
Just like fingernails and hair. Or and even closer set, horns and antlers.
A better question would be why do we care to differentiate between moth larva and butterfly larva. As it is the segregation is a tenacious one.
And yet we do ask for it? Why?
Anyway. Enough of my ruminations. I’m waiting for some families or species of butterfly with hairy larvae.

Here is a link which gives images of butterfly larvae with hair, not from India. These butterflies are commonly called metal-marks (family Riodinidae). They look hairy. Besides in India, there is Zemero flegyas flegyas which too has hairy larvae. Data is deficient on larval images of most metal-mark butterflies in India. The following paper (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/aen.12159) describes yet another butterfly Thrsibe silvestre from the Brazil which was discovered and also mentions that butterflies from the Riodinidae family are still under-represented.

The question raised in this post is out of curiosity and if we cannot explain it, does not mean there does not exist more likely explanation. If a layman were to see a caterpillar, what would we generally look for to distinguish between a moth or a butterfly one? Agreed, we do not have a series of cues to distinguish the two (here moth and butterfly larvae), however, that does not exclude a possibility of there being some.