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Black spiny caterpillar - Vanessa atalanta

Black spiny caterpillar - Vanessa atalanta
Agoura Hills, Los Angeles County, California, USA
October 10, 2004
Discovered while weeding out Baby Tears from flower garden. I'm not sure if it was living there or just passing through. It was beneath a Buddleia and may have fallen from it.

Vanessa atalanta is known to use Baby Tears as a host plant in the abscence of nettles. That's my best guess.

Moved from Butterflies.

We certainly would agree with Nymphalidae
but unfortunately don't recognize this one. The Buckeyes and Fritillaries are so similar, we're just lost.

oops - never mind what I said before
This is a Red Admiral caterpillar. I ignored one obvious thing when I suggested Fritillary. No Fritillary has a middle row of spines down the back, but all subfamily Nymphalinae do. Also, Fritillaries have a prominent pair of spines (may be long or short depending upon species) on the prothorax just behind the head, and this one doesn't have them.

I must have been half asleep when I looked at it the first time - sorry 'bout that.

edited 11-15-08

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