Monday, September 12, 2011

Another New Caterpillar-The Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar

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 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....
 

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden

13 comments:

  1. Fascinating! I get very exciting when I see a new critter for the first time especially when it is in my own garden! Hopefully the monarchs will find the milkweed before the season is over!

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  2. Glad to know he's not a scary creature! Now this is a caterpillar I've never seen here. I've been complaining about the lack of butterfly caterpillars in my garden this year, but yesterday I looked closely and found swallowtail catts swarming all over my fennel. Maybe it's time to get my eyes checked again:)

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  3. It's always neat to see new caterpillars and figure out what they are. I haven't seen any monarch caterpillars on our milkweed either although I have seen plenty of monarchs!

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  4. Poor little moths. We wax poetic about butterflies, but their night cousins are often left out. They are still wonderful creatures though, and am glad you appreciate this little caterpillar. He's a beauty.

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  5. I've never heard of this moth/caterpillar. Good to know something is enjoying the milkweed in your garden. :)

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  6. We saw our first Monarch this weekend while walking Zip in a Nature park. We are pet sitting 3 horse's, 3 outside cats and Zip is living with us for the week. Loving our morning walks in the cool air. Hot by noon though and still NO RAIN. My yard is parched....

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  7. Cool looking cat! Love that milkweed too. Milkweed plants are going in next summer! The tropical one you have is very pretty.

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  8. He has pretty colors but the tufts all look very menacing to me, even if they are not. That link is a great site for millions of things.

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  9. Don't believe I've seen this little guy. He sure is pretty.

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  10. that caterpillar looks quite cuddly but like you, I would look and admire but not touch.

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  11. Whew! Just back from a long day at work and getting the Jimster his FIRST vehicle. Sniff, sniff, he's growing up so fast!

    Thanks everyone for you comments. The moths are sometimes overlooked as they are not usually as pretty and glamorous as the butterflies. But still neat too!

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  12. Congrats Tina on the Jimsters first vehicle:) Another beautiful day today -busy with company from out of town. Ciao!

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  13. Anonymous, Awesome on the out of town company! I'll tell Jimmy you said congrats. He gave it a drive tonight and did excellent for a first time stick shift driver.

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