CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Salt Marsh Moth Caterpillar (Estigmene acrea)
Native hosts include Dogfennel and other potentially aggressive species.
Serves as a host for other species such as tachinid flies and Hymenopterans (Bees, Wasps and Sawflies) which parasitized the eggs/larvae.
Larvae feed on a variety of plants including “cash crops”, so not a favorite with farmers.
This is an early instar.
Coloring can be highly variable: http://mothphotographersgroup.msstate.edu/species.php?hodges=8131
Learn more: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/leaf/saltmarsh_caterpillar.htm
Shown on Florida Native Plant: BLUEJACKET; OHIO SPIDERWORT (Tradescantia ohiensis)
I think it has the cutest face.
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Cassius Blue Butterfly (Leptotes cassius) Egg/Larvae
Had I not seen the butterfly laying eggs, there is no way I ever would have found the minute (smaller than 1/2 a pin head) egg. In trying to get a better photo of the egg a day or two later I saw on the computer screen that it had hatched and the larva was in the same shot.
Larval Host Plants: Milkpea (Galactia spp.), Leadwort (Plumbago spp.), wild tamarind (Lysiloma latisiliquum)
Learn more: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/wildflower/completeButterflyData.asp?id=24
Learn more: VIDEO of ant interacting with a caterpillar: http://www.terranat.com/default.html?recid=132_notes
Shown on Florida Native Plant: DOCTORBUSH (Plumbago zeylanica)
Cassius Blue nectaring on Florida native plant Bidens alba
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Fall Webworm Moth Caterpillar (Hyphantria cunea)
Feeds on multiple species of plants.
“control is seldom necessary because the damage is generally of aesthetic rather than economic importance.”
Fed on by wasps, tachinid flies
Shown on Florida Native Plant: BALD-CYPRESS (Taxodium distichum)
My take: The Worms Crawl In but Do They Swim?
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar (Hypercompe scribonia)
Despite the spines, it says this one doesn’t sting.
Multiple larval hosts. Seems this guy will eat just about anything.
Shown on Florida Native Plant: SAWTOOTH BLACKBERRY; PENNSYLVANIA BLACKBERRY (Rubus pensilvanicus)
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Barred Yellow Butterfly Caterpillar (Eurema daira)
aka Barred Sulphur. Colors of adults vary by season.
Larval hosts: Shyleaf (Aeschynomene americana), pencilflower (Stylosanthes biflora), and non-native perennial peanut (Arachis glabrata)
Learn more: http://bugguide.net/node/view/7689
Shown on Florida Native Plant: SHYLEAF (Aeschynomene americana)
Photo of adult:
CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillar (Papilio polyxenes)
Larval host: carrot family (Apiaceae) including parsley (Petroselinium crispum), dill (Anthum graveolens), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), mock bishop’s weed (Ptilimnium capillaceum)
In my yard they use Florida Native Plant WATER COWBANE (Tiedemannia filiformis) and this guy is shown eating that.
Despite having mock bishops weed in my yard, I have never seen this species use it.
There are color variations in adults.
Learn more: http://butterfliesofamerica.com/t/Papilio_polyxenes_a.htm
Shown on Florida Native Plant: WATER COWBANE (Tiedemannia filiformis)
older instar larva:
photo of Adults:
on carolina redroot