Butterfly Moths Archives — What — s That Bug?

Meadow moth — photo of a butterfly, caterpillar, methods of extermination

Subject: I found this moth!
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
March 6, 2013 4:22 pm
Hello! I really love insects, especially moths. Where I live, we don’t get to see many cute or colourful moths besides the normal household ones, so I was quite shocked when I saw this little beauty roaming around my house! I’m not sure if this moth is native to this part of the world; I think it might be an introduced species. I’d be really happy if you helped me identify this handsome little fellow.
(Sorry about the low quality pics)
Signature: Paula

Dear Paula,
We believe we have correctly identified this as a Butterfly Moth,
Paysandisia archon, and it is native to Argentina and it is represented on the Butterflies and Beetles of Argentina website. According to the Fauna of Paraguay website: “These are large, colourful and generally rare, day-flying moths with clubbed antennae – superficially resembling butterflies. Sensilla present on the antennal clubs. Large external ocelli and chaetosemata absent. Probocis often well-developed, occasionally reduced. Maxillary palpi small, labial palpi upturned. Epiphysis present and tibial spur formula 0-2-4. Sensory brushes occur on the pretarsus before the claws. Wings broad, venation little reduced. Wing coupling via frenulum-retinaculum system. CuP vein present or absent in both wings. Male genitalia with characteristically curved aedagus. Females typically with elongated ovipositor. (Scoble 1995).” Interestingly, we identified your moth very quickly in our own archive because we thought it resembled a Fruit Piercing Moth from the family Noctuidae (see Purdue University Entomology website), a mistake we made before when a photo of a Butterfly Moth was sent to us from France. When we learned its true identity, we discovered it was accidentally introduced to Europe from South America, and since the larvae are borers in palms, it is expected to be a problematic invasive exotic species in France if it becomes widely established.


Meadow moth — photo of a butterfly, caterpillar, methods of extermination

Subject: Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug: Louisa, Virginia
Date: 09/22/2019
Time: 02:41 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: What caterpillar is this and what plant is it’s host?
How you want your letter signed: Sharon

Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar

Dear Sharon,
We believe this is a Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar and according to BugGuide: “Larvae feed on Violets & Pansy (
Viola), Flax (Linum), Passion Vine (Passiflora), Damiana (Turnera), Moonseed (Menispermum), Mayapple (Podophyllum), Stonecrop (Sedum), Purslane (Portulaca) and others. Adults are fond of flowers, and especially seem to like Thistles and yellow Composites. They also frequently visit damp ground.”

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Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar

Subject: Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug: Howard County, MD
Date: 09/19/2019
Time: 09:08 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Please ID this. I found a location where they are everywhere.
How you want your letter signed: John

Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar

Dear John,
This is a Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar. Here is a BugGuide image for reference.

Related posts:

Modest Sphinx Caterpillar

Subject: Large green caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug: Bangor ME
Date: 09/19/2019
Time: 06:53 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Found this caterpillar walking across the driveway toward the grass. Having trouble identifying it. Would appreciate your help.
How you want your letter signed: PH

Modest Sphinx Caterpillar

Dear PH,
This is the caterpillar of a Modest Sphinx or Poplar Sphinx,
Pachysphinx modesta, and we identified on Sphingidae of the Americas where it states: ” These hornworms feed upon poplar, willow, and cottonwood, are very strong and develop to quite a size. Larvae progress very rapidly on poplar. The green of the early hornworm instars is very much like the top of the poplar leaf while the pale green of the final instar more closely resembles the color of the underside of poplar leaves. Larvae are extremely strong with powerful mandibles.” The caudal horn on the Modest Sphinx Caterpillar is quite insignificant compared to the horns of other caterpillars in the family.

Related posts:

Unknown Hornworm from Mexico: Isognathus rimosus inclitus

Subject: What caterpillar and moth or butterfly will this be
Geographic location of the bug: Chapala, mexico
Date: 09/15/2019
Time: 03:40 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: My friend sent me a pic of this caterpillar from Chapala Mexico. After looking online I found hornworm caterpillars. Which one is this and what moth or butterfly does it turn into. Also what is the purpose of the horn?
How you want your letter signed: Sarah

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Dear Sarah,
We are very confident that this is a Hornworm in the family Sphingidae, and that it will eventually transform into a Sphinx Moth or Hawkmoth, but alas, we have not been successful identifying its species despite the excellent database on Sphingidae of the Americas. We will write to Bill Oehlke to see if he can provide a species identification.

Bill Oehlke Responds.
Hi Daniel, I think I have seen that one before, but a quick check did not let me come up with an id. Later this afternoon I will send it to Jean Haxaire to see if he knows what it is.

Jean Haxaire has indicated Isognathus rimosus inclitus.
I wish permission to post it to website. Please check with photographer and forward his or her name.

Ed. Note: The subspecies Isognathus rimosus inclitus is pictured on Sphingidae of the Americas, but there is no larval image. We are writing back to Sarah with the identification and a request from Bill Oehlke to include the image on his comprehensive site.

Hi Daniel,
Thanks so much. I’m checking with my friend and am getting an exact location if possible. I’m sure she’ll be alright with sharing, but will get back to you tomorrow.

Hi Daniel,
Pilar Martinez is the photographer and the pic was taken in Chapala, Jalisco , Mexico
Pilar has said ok to sharing the image. I’m copying her on this email.
Thank you so much for the identification and glad to contribute to the database.
Please send us a link when it’s up.

Thanks Sarah and Pilar,
Pilar’s image is already live on What’s That Bug? and Bill Oehlke will post it to the species page for
Isognathus rimosus inclitus on his site, Sphingidae of the Americas, where he has adult moths of pictured, but no caterpillars.


Milkweed Tiger Moth Caterpillar

Fuzzy caterpillars on my milkweed?
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
August 22, 2011 4:25 pm
Hi! I let some volunteer milkweeds grow in my gardens this year in hopes they’d attract a monarch caterpillar or two.
Last night I was practicing my photography skills in my backyard and thought I might just check to see if I had any little monarch friends and found these fellas instead.
I was hoping you let me know what I’m raising in my yard. I surfed through your butterfly and moth caterpillar pics and didn’t see these.
Signature: Heidi

Milkweed Tiger Moth Caterpillar

Hi Heidi,
Monarchs are not the only insects with caterpillars that feed on milkweed. Several moths including the Milkweed Tiger Moth Caterpillar or Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillar,
Euchaetes egle, also feed on milkweed. You can see additional photos on this species on BugGuide.


Meadow moth — photo of a butterfly, caterpillar, methods of extermination

Subject: Black and White hairy caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug: Guatemala
Date: 10/11/2019
Time: 09:53 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: We found two of these large caterpillars on different avocado trees in a wet mountain area near San Pedro, Guatemala, do you know what they are called? 3″ soft hairy, don’t bit or sting.
How you want your letter signed: Caroline

Dear Caroline,
We tried unsuccessfully to identify this distinctive Moth Caterpillar. Some families we explored were Erebidae, Lasiocampidae and Apatelodidae. Perhaps one of our readers will have more success with this identification.

Related posts:

Hornworm from Morocco

Subject: Varition of Morocco horned caterpillar color
Geographic location of the bug: Closest to Erfoud, Morocco
Date: 10/08/2019
Time: 10:49 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hello BugMan! I wanted to show you this variation in color of the (perhaps) Barbary Spurge? Hornworm.(OR tell me the exact ID; I see some with two dots!) We found these while riding camels in Erg Chebbi sand dunes on the vegetation shown. We gently tickled one and put him on a leaf to better photograph. Then we put him back on leaves. There were LOTS of them! They can make their way quite fast over the sand when looking for another bush! I took the photos on September 26, 2019. Thank you!
How you want your letter signed: Cynthia S.

Hornworm from genus Hyles.

Dear Cynthia,
This hornworm is definitely from the genus Hyles, but we cannot be certain of the species. It does look most to us like the Barberry Spurge Hawkmoth caterpillar pictured on Sphingidae of the Western Palaearctic.

Related posts:

Orange Dog

Subject: Orange Dog
Geographic location of the bug: Francestown, NH
Date: 10/04/2019
Time: 02:25 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: This is in reference to my 2012 post of a Giant Swallowtail Butterfly here: https://www.whatsthatbug.com/2 012/08/07/giant-swallowtail-in -new-hampshire
After 7 years finally noticed half a dozen or so on a Gas plant(Dictamnus albus).
How you want your letter signed: alf

Dear alf,
Thanks so much for providing documentation of Orange Dogs in your New Hampshire garden seven years after first seeing an adult Giant Swallowtail, a species reported in Vermont on BugGuide, but not in New Hampshire. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden site, Gas Plant is in the citrus family Rutacea, which is consistent with BugGuide information on larval food plants.

Related posts:

Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar

Subject: WTF? Crazy sea urchin looking bug
Geographic location of the bug: Middle Tennessee
Date: 10/03/2019
Time: 05:32 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: So found this bug around 4 o’clock In the morning while taking the dog to the bathroom. Actually my dog found it. Idk if it was curled into a ball as a defense mechanism or if this is just what it looks like. I grew up here and have never seen anything remotely close to this. Other than those hairy black and red caterpillar ant things that bite the crap out you and hurt like well you know. Anyway I don’t think that is what this is cause I’ve never seen one of those this big before. As a matter of perspective it’s in a normal size pickle jar so you can see it’s roughly the size of a ping pong ball or so. Any ideas?
How you want your letter signed: SimplySimon

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Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar

Dear SimplySimon,
This is a Woolly Bear, the caterpillar of a Tiger Moth in the subfamily Arctiinae. We are relatively confident it is a Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar,
Hypercompe scribonia, which is pictured on BugGuide. According to BugGuide: “Late instar caterpillar mostly black with tufts of stiff black hairs of equal length radiating around body. Rolls up head to tail when disturbed. When curled, red intersegmental rings visible between the hairs.” We have numerous images on our site of the adult Giant Leopard Moth, but not many of the caterpillars so your submission is a welcome addition to our archives.

Related posts:

Polyphemus Caterpillar

Subject: Luna Moth Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug: Eagle River, Wisconsin
Date: 10/01/2019
Time: 10:19 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: We found this caterpillar on a nearby wooded pathway yesterday, and didn’t know what it was or where it was going–end of September can usher in very cold temperatures here. So, at home we identified it as a Luna Moth Caterpillar. We want to properly release it back into the wild. It would be lovely to have seen it develop into the moth, but we don’t feel confident that we can keep it healthy. Will it over-winter here in the North? or Will it still be able to mate yet this autumn? It was found under a soft Maple tree quite close to a lake and alder bushes near the lake and surrounding wetland. I was even wondering if it could drown? Thank you for information so that we can release it soon and get it on its way to the right environment.
How you want your letter signed: The Rasmussens

Dear Rasmussens,
Luna Moth Caterpillars and Polyphemus Moth Caterpillars can be difficult to distinguish from one another. We believe your caterpillar is a Polyphemus Caterpillar. The identifying feature is a pale yellow band that runs through the spiracles or breathing holes on the Polyphemus Caterpillar. It is described on BugGuide as: “Larva: body large, bright green, with red and silvery spots below setae, and oblique yellow lines running through spiracles on abdomen; diagonal streak of black and silver on ninth abdominal segment; head and true legs brown; base of primary setae red, subdorsal and lateral setae have silver shading below; end of prolegs with yellow ring, and tipped in black.” At this time of year in your location, we speculate this individual is preparing to pupate and it will overwinter in the cocoon. Caterpillars are not aquatic. They can drown.

Dear Daniel. Thank you for the information. It is nice to know what it is– Polyphemus, not Luna, and that it will overwinter. It started spinning yesterday between two leaves in the leaf litter at the bottom of the container, currently in our garage. So now, we will have to decide the next step. possibly to get info on overwintering it in our refrigerator with a constant temperature or it will be subjected to?? subzero temperatures for much of our Northern Wisconsin winter. If you had thoughts and time on this, don’t hesitate to drop a line. We appreciate and feel fortunate to have had your communication. Much of the information we were finding is not specific in details or confusing. –Patty & Eric Rasmussen

Dear Patty and Eric,
We do not raise caterpillars, but in captivity, one needs to be cognizant of temperature and humidity. Too warm and the moth will emerge prematurely. Too damp or too dry it might not survive. We would recommend keeping it outdoors in a protected location where it will benefit from precipitation, but not get too wet.


Meadow moth — photo of a butterfly, caterpillar, methods of extermination

Subject: What is this
Geographic location of the bug: Mobile, AL
Date: 06/13/2019
Time: 07:34 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Any idea what this is? Found on a lemon tree
How you want your letter signed: Laura

Dear Laura,
This is the Caterpillar of a Giant Swallowtail, commonly called an Orange Dog. It will eat some leaves, but it will not negatively affect the health of your tree. Unless there are hundreds of them or the tree is very very small, the tree can stand to lose a few leaves.

Related posts:

Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillar

Subject: Unknown caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug: Roaring springs, TX
Date: 06/12/2019
Time: 02:09 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I found this Caterpillar on a herping trip and have been having trouble identifying it. It was found in early morning around 8:45am on the 1st of June. Not sure what plant it was on though. Thanks!
How you want your letter signed: Lisa

Hooded Owlet Caterpillar

Dear Lisa,
This is one of the Hooded Owlet Moth Caterpillars in the genus
Cucullia. We believe we have correctly identified it as Cucullia laetifica, thanks to BugGuide images and data on the range which includes Texas.

Related posts:

Common Mime Caterpillar from India

Subject: pink dotted caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug: goa india
Date: 06/10/2019
Time: 10:01 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: HI
my friend noticed this caterpillar.
here’s the photo i took . quite attractive colours.
I suppose it is a stage of a moth or butterfly
can you know what type moth or butterfly it turns into?
How you want your letter signed: Carlos

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Common Mime Caterpillar

Dear Carlos,
This caterpillar is quite colorful, but alas, we have not had any luck with an identification. Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck.

Update: June 11, 2019
Thanks to a comment from Karl, we now know that this is a Common Mime Caterpillar, Chilasa [Papilio] clytia. According to Butterflies of Singapore: “Across the range where this species occurs, the early stages feed on leaves of serveral plants in the Lauraceae family. The sole recorded local host plant, Cinnamomum iners (Common name: Clover Cinnamon, Wild Cinnamon), is a very common plant all over Singapore, readily found in nature reserves, gardens, parks and wastelands etc. It is a small to medium-sized tree with 3-nerved leaves. Eggs and early stages of the Common Mime are typically found on saplings at heights from knee to waist level.”


From Extermination to Appreciation

One year to study insects globally and discover what makes us love, hate, or simply ignore the most abundant animals around us.

Southeast Asian Butterflies

For the insect enthusiast or general admirer who wants to put a name to the beauties they’ve been seeing: I present a modest collection of photographs and the most accurate identifications I can provide here of butterflies I have found or helped raise in Thailand and Malaysia.

As one of the most admired insect groups, butterflies have become a tool for me in educating others about insect life cycles and ecology. Their peaceful survival strategies and beauty have also helped in soothing some entomophobia. While they have been tools for me to educate others with, they have introduced me to the diversity of each area that I have visited and caused me to recognize faults in my own knowledge of insects. Humbled by their diversity, I have also learned some patience in raising them as I gather fresh host plants for the caterpillars to feed on and gather eggs in anticipation of them hatching.

Butterflies have inspired countless entomologists to observe, describe, and understand the insect realm. It is to them that we owe thanks and this thanks may be given in the form of appreciation. May this modest collection help to continue an appreciation of insects in others.

Papilionidae – Birdwings and Swallowtails

Raja Brooke’s Birdwing – Trogonoptera brookiana (Captive raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Seen in KL Butterfly Garden)

The Golden Birdwing – Troides aeacus (Captive raised in Chiang Mai, Thailand; Seen in Siam Insect Zoo Butterfly Garden)

Newly emerged adult from chrysalis

The Great Mormon – Papilio memnon (Wild adults seen feeding on nectar at Pulau Sibu, Malaysia)

The Lime Butterfly – Papilio demoleus (Wild adult and captive raised caterpillars in Chiang Mai, Thailand; Seen in forests near Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden and the Siam Insect Zoo Butterfly Garden)

Nymphalidae – Brush-footed butterflies (The largest family of butterflies)

The Great Eggfly or Blue Moon Butterfly – Hypolimnas bolina (Wild adult seen in community garden at Bukit Kembara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

The Chocolate Pansy – Junonia iphita (Wild adult in Chiang Mai, Thailand; Seen in forest near the Siam Insect Zoo)

The Clipper – Parthenos sylvia (Wild and captive adult in Chiang Mai, Thailand; Seen in forest near the Siam Insect Zoo and inside their butterfly garden)

Striped Blue Crow – Euploea mulciber (Captive raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Seen in KL Butterfly Garden)

Crow Butterfly – Euploea spp. (Captive adult raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Seen in KL Butterfly Garden)

Yellow Glassy Tiger – Parantica aspasia (Wild adult seen in community garden at Bukit Kembara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Blue Glassy Tiger – Ideopsis vulgaris (Captive raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Seen in KL Butterfly Garden)

Common Palmfly – Elymnias hypermnestra (Captive raised in Chiang Mai, Thailand; Seen in Siam Insect Zoo Butterfly Garden)

Parasitized caterpillars with pupae of Braconid wasps in yellow cocoons. The caterpillars willdie as a result of this interaction.

Leopard Lacewing – Cethosia cyane

Malaysian Lascar – Lasippa spp. (Wild adult seen in shady rainforests of Pulau Sibu, Malaysia)

Grey Count caterpillar – Tanaecia spp. (Larvae found drowning in creek near Siam Insect Zoo in Mae Rim/Chiang Mai, Thailand)

Black Tipped Archduke male- Lexias dirtea (Seen puddling on the forest floor at Pulau Sibu, Malaysia)

Lycaenidae – Gossamer winged butterflies (second largest family)

The Common Imperial – Cheritra freja (Wild adult seen in community garden at Bukit Kembara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Centaur Oakblue caterpillar– Arhopala centaurus (Wild larvae seen in forest of Pulau Sibu, Malaysia)

Pieridae – The Yellows and Whites

Redspot Jezebels – Delias descombesi

Nolidae – Tuft moths (Small moth family; included for fun among the butterflies)

Special thanks to everyone who helped identify each of these butterflies and for the Siam Insect Zoo for teaching me how to raise some of the caterpillars. All of these photos are my own and taken on an iPhone6 (apologies for the quality). I hope to grow this list as I photograph and learn new species of Southeast Asian Butterflies.

For more frequent updates, follow me on Instagram: justanothernakedape


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