Cotton caterpillar


As I was about to pull up a wild cotton plant spotted near my big dam,  I noticed this spectacularly marked caterpillar.


Khaki, powder blue and black, in stripes and spots and vees. Then I saw a little one further down the plant. They appear to be double-ended, with those handsome black antennae at each end.

I couldn’t possibly pull out the weed while such beauties were busy eating their way to cocoonhood.

I don’t have a caterpillar book; does anyone know what this will become?

4 thoughts on “Cotton caterpillar”

  1. Thanks for all that info folks and for the link Denis – you are a wealth of facts and sources!
    I haven’t seen this striking fellow on my towering parsley seedheads DWG, but will keep an eye out. There are many Wanderer butterflies here so I ought to see more caterpillars.

  2. Sharyn, I agree on the butterfly it will become. Hope you get to experience that cycle. Here in southern USA I leave my parsley to grow up to seeds and they also love that. Hope your trip is going well.

  3. Hi Sharyn.
    Indeed, as Barbara says, it is the Caterpillar of the Monarch Butterfly.
    Here is a link from the Chew Family’s website – Brisbane Insects and Spiders.
    These Caterpillars love Asclepias (Milkweeds), but although the true Cotton plant is not in that group (it is related to Hibiscus), there is another plant, a form of Milk Weed, which is known as “Ball Cotton”, “Cotton Bush” or “Swan Plant” which this Caterpillar loves.

  4. I think it’s the caterpillar of Monarch or Wanderer butterfly (Danaus plexippus); famous for its migrating habits so its nice that you left it.

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