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Photo#182650
Viceroy Caterpillar 5-14-2008 - Limenitis archippus

Viceroy Caterpillar 5-14-2008 - Limenitis archippus
Pleasant Prairie, Kenosha County, Wisconsin, USA
May 14, 2008
Size: 1 inch
Found about 1 dozen of these caterpillars, some smaller and brown, on a small shrub in the middle of a grassy field.

Images of this individual: tag all
Rolled willow leaf of overwintered larva for Viceroy caterpillar - Limenitis archippus Viceroy Caterpillar 5-14-2008 - Limenitis archippus Side view of green version of Viceroy Caterpillar - Limenitis archippus Viceroy caterpillars - green and brown versions - Limenitis archippus Front view of Viceroy Chrysalis 5-18-2008 - Limenitis archippus Side view of Viceroy chrysalis 5-21-2008 - Limenitis archippus Viceroy Butterfly 5-26-2008 - Limenitis archippus

Moved
Moved from Viceroy.

Viceroy Caterpillar
This green caterpillar emerged on 5-28-2008. The brown version was still as a chrysalis and docile as a butterfly; whereas this green version waited longer to make a chrysalis, vigorously jolted back and forth whenever I moved the container, and wouldn't hold still for a photo as a butterfly. ?Coincidence or gender? I've monitored the small willow shrub they were on....there were no less than 12 caterpillars originally, but day by day there have been less with no signs of chrysalis'. Do they go underground? Or is it possible birds have been plucking them one by one? There are only two left on the bush....maybe I should get them indoors?

White Admiral/Viceroy/Red-spotted Purple
All 3 feed on willow, which is no help, but the White Admiral is more common in Northern states, while the Red-spotted is more common South. Viceroys seem to be everywhere.....you have the Spring brood, so stick the caterpillar in a jar (so the spiders don't feast) with some willow leaves and see what comes out. 30 days will tell the tale. If I was to bet, I'd say Viceroy. I've seen more green flavored ones turn out as Viceroys than the other two.

 
Larva
Thanks, Danny. I'll fetch two of them and wait to see what develops. Is the cycle - butterfly lays eggs in the late summer, eggs hatch in the fall, overwinter in the rolled leaves, and then pupate in the spring? ...and do the smaller brown ones turn green when they get bigger?

 
Green vs Brown
Sometimes they green...sometimes they brown. Truthfully, there seems to be no rhyme or reason for dual colors, except for the most obvious one--survival. Birds watch and learn from each other, one eats brown caterpillar...they all eat brown caterpillar... ergo green caterpillar slides right on by, perpetuation of the species. One thing is for sure though, God does enjoy variety.

Either a Viceroy or a Red Spotted Purple
It looks to be feeding on a willow which may help separate the two.

 
Viceroy or Red-spotted
Thanks for narrowing this down. I'll watch the bush and wait for a chrysalis to collect.

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