Great work, thanks for sharing your amazing blog. They left several eggs on milkweeds, and I have enjoyed raising them. The IO moth cats have lots of stinging points on them, and I only got stung in a couple of spots on a couple of knuckles while I was caring for them. I live in New Orleans and the weather is unsteady this time of year. Peggy from Connecticut. They definitely do not "only" eat milkweed, as this is the second year for me to have caterpillars on dill plants. I also have butterfly bush, butterfly weed, tall Garden Phlox, etc for the bees and butterflies. Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a native herbaceous perennial whose main virtue is its appeal to butterfliesespecially the monarch, which deposits its eggs on the milkweed. We live in Southeast Nebraska, and this is the first time in the 13 years we have lived at our address that I have found these caterpillars. In years past there have been lots of them, although not so much last year. My milkweed in my yard did not do well this year because of the freaky weather so I did not have many butterflies. I have been searching on the internet to find what kind it is and I have not found out what it is. I’m sorry about the milkweed bugs and tussock moths but there were far too many of them and they ate too much of whatever milkweed wasn’t killed. Once the caterpillar finds a safe place, it will assume the “J” position and begin the process of transforming into the chrysalis phase. How can I pin them? Hi there, My son has no milkweed growing in his yard, but his neighbors do. Will photograph stages. Dr. Wagner’s description of the interesting larvae: “densely hairy caterpillar with numerous black, orange (or yellow) and white tufts and lashes.” Yes, “lashes.”. Help !!!! Here in NW lower Michigan, we are OVERRUN with tussock moth caterpillars this year! I STILL HAVE ABOUT 5 LOOKING FOR FOOD. We spotted several of the Tussock moth caterpillars on some milkweed today here in Michigan! Will it be ok to let it out tomorrow and hope it gets somewhere warmer by tomorrow evening? I’ve stopped many places on road sides and very few monarch catapillars. I plan to plant more “butterfly” plants next year to make up for millkweed not being there. We have 3 or 4 milkweed tussock catepillars. There is evidence of larvae feeding on some varieties of Hoya, but I have not discovered which ones yet or its suitability to raise a successful brood on. I have at least 40 milkweed plants in various places on our 94 acres in the Missouri Ozarks, and this year I have only seen 1 Monarch butterfly. It requires full sun. Just thought I would share. It’s about 3/8″ long, green with a stripe down it’s back which is black along the edges and kind of a peach to white interior. I’m in New Jersey Unfortunately the Ntl. My monarch caterpillars kept disappearing, so bringing them in next year. It’s on my milkweed. This one was very small, maybe a third of an inch total, nondescript color, shaped with a little bit of a flare around the head, and when I tried to move it, it reared up at me as if to threaten me and writhed a lot more than the monarchs do. Argh I don’t know how to attach a pic…. Monarch butterfly caterpillar on milkweed, its host plant. This site is wonderful, I now know it is the Tuscan moth caterpillars, skeletiz my many milkweed around our yard in Worcester County, Massachusetts. I am in Cincinnati, OH and I see the milkweed tussock moth caterpillar on an annual basis. Isn’t it fun to share our experiences and encourage others to learn more about nature? What can I do to help, while living in Conn.? Thank you for the information! Milkweed plants don't produce toxins for the monarch's benefit, of course, they produce toxins to defend themselves from herbivores, including hungry monarch caterpillars. I have seen plenty of black swallowtails on those herbs but never a monarch. Center is looking for backers who can donate to their fight over the planned addition of more miles blocking access to our side for the native animals that have lived down there for so very long. Milkweed for Butterflies. They are unlikely to cause direct harm to your Monarch eggs or caterpillars, since they most likely eat plant material, not other insects. Saved me many times! Thank you, I forgot to add photo Milkweed Leaf Miners. So beautiful, what a treat! Besides the difference in appearance between the caterpillar and the adult Monarch, the mode of feeding and the type of food that the two eat are completely different. I've been raising Monarchs now for about 2 years and have released about 400-500. I am not sure what happened this year, except for our extremely late spring. Was fortunate enough to spot a beautiful green crysallis (sp?) Anyone know what this might be? You can see the same orange-and-black expression of other milkweed consumers in the belly of the beast, below. Thanks for your comments. Kip Kiphart, a trainer for Monarch Larvae Monitoring Project (MLMP) and volunteer at Cibolo Nature Center in Boerne, Texas, reports that the Cycnia pictured below was found in 2003 by Myrna Langford while checking milkweed on Laurel’s Ranch near Comfort, Texas. by Ecosystem Gardener | Dec 4, 2020 | Butterfly Gardening. Says its native to texas and southwest…but here it is in ohio!…. Apparently monarch eggs were laid on my parsley, dill, cilantro, and carrot plants because caterpillars are feeding on each of these plants (there are more caterpillars on the parsley than the other plants). Milkweed Tussock Moth, photo by Patrick Coin via Wikipedia. This time last year I was releasing by the dozens. The adult lays it eggs on milkweed only. The only Monarchs I’ve seen yet are the ones I released a few days ago. She is having a near impossible time attaching to hang and dry her wings but is leaking an orange-rust looking fluid. I misspoke about the taxonomy of Honeyvine. That’s why I moved it a few inches over to the other plant. The first person was correct that they only eat milkweed. I’m really hoping they leave some of the milkweed so I can see at least one monarch caterpillar this year! This week, Bug of the Week was inundated with questions about another caterpillar munching on milkweed: the milkweed tussock moth, also known as the milkweed tiger moth. A few more found the common milkweed — squish. We went out citizen scientist-ing today, looking for milkweed and evidence of monarch butterflies and/or eggs and caterpillars here in Rosemount, MN. It’s the Striped garden caterpillar, Trichordestra legitimata, which feasts not only on milkweed but other common garden greens–clover, goldenrod, yarrow, grasses and others. We see Tussock moth caterpillars on milkweed all the time here in Ohio. They definitely were attaché to the tomato and definitely eating the leaves. on one as I was throwing it away. A weed is simply a plant whose virtues have not been discovered. If I still had all my swamp and common milkweed I’d have tons of caterpillars now through mid September. Well, my monarchs are a bit more adventuresome. Correct. According to Wagner, the species occurs in Texas and the Southwest. I am in Cincinnati OH and raised 35 monarchs this year, so I am surprised I have yet to see a milkweed tussock moth caterpillar. She saved me a few of the cats to raise, and some have already made a cocoon, some are still eating. Hello! Same ivy. i'm afraid he will kill all of the seedlings. Tussock moth caterpillars feasting on my milkweed. Thank the Lord for supporting our efforts regarding this matter. Dawn. I was digging out some garden plants and found some Monarch larva on one of the plants. We have lots of Monarchs, too. Thank You for your info as I have not found the Cyncia in my Butterflies and Moths book. They stripped all of my swamp milkweed in 2 days. Have you seen any of these other milkweed feeders? Thank you, I was hoping to see some monarch caterpillars this year and was very excited to see that my milkweed plant had been stripped…but what I found under a bottom leaf was not what I expected! My first thought: “That ain’t no Monarch.”. Monarch caterpillars do only eat plants in the Milkweed family (Asclepias spp), so if we want to help them out in our wildlife gardens, we still need to add these plants to our gardens. I put some Brazilian verbena in this year and neither the monarchs or bees seem interned in them. The article didn’t mention the Queen Butterfly (often misidentified as a Monarch), that also host on Milkweed plants. Probably the Milkweed tussock moth. They travel from the milkweed to another plant to pupate. Does anyone have any ideas on this problem? Man they are suppose to be in Southern states. They can strip a milkweed leaf. Two out of 6 fennel plants had beautiful green monarch caterpillars munching away. I’ve had quite a few here in Michigan as well. I be had chrysalis hanging on the rims of pots, the wooden shingles on my house, my railings, the door knocker etc ... they sometimes walk a ways to choose their perfect spot. We had monarch caterpillars last summer. Ooops! These include cucumber, pumpkin, and butternut squash. I wish we could post pictures here because...I have several cats, in at least 4 different stages, eating almost the entire supply of parsley in my herb garden. I need to plant more milkweed, my plants have been bare of leaves and blooms for all the caterpillar activity! my neighbor and I split the group and are watching them grow. We saw 9 monarch butterflies flying around during our walk, and lots of milkweed (although not as much as we would have guessed) but a small area that had this huge group/crop of these moths. Totally trying to avoid during our drives. Judging from conversations with folks who work and play a lot with milkweed raising caterpillars and butterflies, these other milkweed eaters are not all that common. This week my milkweed is being difoilyaited by “T” Caterpillar. The egg must have been laid on it. - Quora Adding on to what others have said, there are a few other foods that monarch caterpillars can eat, besides milkweed. Without milkweed, monarchs can’t successfully reproduce and the species declines. I looked up early instars of the tussock moth but they seem to have their ‘quills’ even when very small. Should I stop them? (above) I discovered two hungry Monarch caterpillars on my only milkweed plant. Didnt have many Japanese beetles this year either,a blessing think cold helped but lost several butterfly bushes. Are they? The caterpillar stage feeds only on the leaves of plants in the milkweed family. Approximately how big are the Cyncia moths? For two years in a row I have found monarch caterpillars on ivy plants in my backyard. Here in the northeastern corner of Illinois I am for the very first time seeing several of the Tussock moth caterpillars on my milkweed plants. Interesting, huh? Great visual and educational information. I recently had the pleasure of raising a number of Polyphemus moth cats and some IO moth cats. I have 25 large milkweed but unfortunately the caterpillars have devoured every leaf. It is scheduled to run three miles through the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in Pharr, which will possibly cause the Refuge to close due to the amount of land it takes and all the equipment and supplies to build the fence. I live in Minnesota, and my Asclepius Tuberosa milkweed plants are full of fluffy Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillars right now. I would attach them if I knew how, sorry, they’re on my phone. I’ve never seen them before! I live in Cleveland Ohio. Last week I noticed this fellow noshing on a pot of Swamp milkweed, Asclepias incarnata. This year is a wash. Next year, I’ll mow down at least half of my common milkweed so it isn’t so densely packed. It was a plain blonde fuzzy caterpillar – definatly not a tussock moth – and it was just one individual. I searched all my butterfly books and ascertained it was a monarch crysallis and promptly went on with my busy life, basically forgetting about it. Instar 4-5 caterpillars (over a half-inch long) have been reported to eat pieces of butternut squash, delicata squash, pumpkin, crunchy cucumber, and watermelon slices. This has actually been a banner year for them as they are stripping my various kinds of milkweed bare. Caught picture at night, masses of them. I live in Maine and have 15 Tussock Moth caterpillars on 4 Milkweed stalks just munching away on the leaves. I live near Glen Rose TX. We have also had a few of the fluffy milkweed tussocks eating on our milkweed as we speak. Dr. David L. Wagner, author of the useful Caterpillars of Eastern North America, describes the milkweed feeder on page 415 of his seminal guidebook as a “handsome brown and yellow striped caterpillar.” He recommends looking for them in grass seed heads but adds that he often finds them on the flowers of Goldenrod in the fall. Life Cycles of Butterflies in Your Habitat Garden, Tiger Swallowtails in the Wildlife Garden, Red Admiral Butterfly Sipping From Sap Flow, Mourning Cloak First Butterfly of the Season. Thank you for helping me identify them. Red bugs/ants, other pests noted also. But I just received this comment here at Ecosystem Gardening that seems to suggest that Monarch caterpillars eat other plants besides milkweed: Hi Carole: I was perusing around searching for more info on plant attractants for hummers and butterflies. Plant placement can reduce predator traffic. I have never found them on any other plant except this particular ivy. Although we are way to north to see them, they certainly are beautiful! We have been saving and raising mammoths; we are up to 24 this year and we have to harvest milkweed leaves from nearby fields. I‚Äôve found lime green round eggs on my milkweed. Let lots of milkweed grow & trying to get neighbors to do the same. They're now all 4 in my window and eating ivy as we speak. When my neighbor brushed their backs with her finger, she said later her finger was a tad numb We figured that might be their defense against ants and the like. The caterpillar has strong jaws adapted for crushing and chewing solid food, while the butterfly has a proboscis adapted for siphoning liquid food. 7 or 8 of those little guys striped em all in about 2 weeks. I have the Cyncia inopinatus caterpillar on my milk weed this year. What else can I provide for them to eat? Visit our friends at for the latest NFL betting lines. They are cute! That tussock moth caterpillar is a cutie! This species uses milkweed at all stages of its life cycle. Had the Tussocks last year. A group of milkweed tussock caterpillars can rather quickly consume entire … I see in your article that they can travel a distance from their host plant to pupate. Monarch caterpillars are not aware of this and eat it anyway! I had went to butterfly class and the speaker had raised over 200 1 yr. Asclepias spp the last two years in a wooded area to us gardeners that there are a bit more.! Topic if you have any hints i ’ ve seen yellow swallowtails, monarchs,,. 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