Monday, September 12, 2011
Another New Caterpillar-The Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar
I keep checking my tropical milkweed (my favorite) for monarch caterpillars but so far this summer has been a bust for butterfly larva. I am having great luck with moth larva though. The above caterpillar on the tropical milkweed happens to be caterpillar of the Milkweed Tussock Moth. This is one caterpillar I've never seen before.
The milkweed tussock moth caterpillar looks like a scary caterpillar but I could not find where it may be poisonous to humans-nonetheless I did not touch it. It is poisonous to predators and according the above source obtains the toxins from the milkweed. It's bright colors warn off predators. Go ahead and check this site because there is a nice picture of the moth. The moth has a black and orange striped body. The same colors as the caterpillar and the same colors as a monarch butterfly. Coincidence here? I don't think so. Insects that depend on milkweed as their host plants are very specialized insects and ones that can handle the toxins in the milkweed.
I have seen many monarchs flying around but no caterpillars yet. At least I now know why all of my tropical milkweed has been eaten to stubs....
in the garden....
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