Spring butterfly surprise

I had a few butterfly chrysalises from last fall and kept them in the garage all winter. This week I decided it was time to put them outdoors. The next morning, about 10 a.m, I noticed a black swallowtail butterfly had just emerged! The yellow dots indicate it’s a male.

Black Swallowtail 3-27-16Springtime includes many surprises, and a newly emerged butterfly is certainly one of them. I look forward to seeing what other discoveries this season holds.

A caterpillar with red shoes?

Yes, a white fluffy caterpillar with bright-red shoes! This Spotted Apatelodes (Apatelodes torrefacta) was just one of several caterpillars we discovered and identified at the recent Caterpillar Weekend at Natural Bridge State Resort Park.

The red ‘shoes’ are actually prolegs. Furthermore, I understand this is one of the stinging caterpillars, although I didn’t touch it to find out.

Spotted Apatelodes caterpillarcaterpillarIt was a treat to find and identify ‘cats’ with other enthusiasts. I continue to be impressed by the wide variety of caterpillars naturalists have documented in the park. My thanks to Brian and Drew for making it a fun learning experience.