Albino Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar

misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)August 21, 2009

You may remember my previous thread about the albino gulf frit caterpillar that I found - it's growing and looks very healthy. I got a picture of it earlier this afternoon, but I was somewhat disappointed, because the cat never would hold it's head up - I wanted to get a good picture of its "face." Well, about an hour or so later, I noticed that it had molted, so I guess that's why it was so still - duh! :) I got another picture after the molt, and the cat looked different than it had just an hour earlier! I also made a picture of a normal gulf frit cat for comparison -

Here's the first picture I took when I first found the cat -

it was tiny at this point -

Here's the first picture I took of the cat today, before the molt - its head looked to be entirely black at this point -

And here's the picture taken shortly after the cat had molted - notice that it's feet have gone from black to blue and it's head is orange with the black markings typical of a normal gulf frit -

The cat is about ?3rd maybe 4th instar, still has some growing to do. This has been really interesting!


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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Fascinating! The photos are wonderful. Can't wait to see the butterfly.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 8:21PM
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    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 11:05PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

Wow! Love the photos!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 12:20AM
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So intriguing, Miss Sherry! Have you noticed whether or not it is sensitive to light which is a typical response in albinism?


    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 3:59PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Susan, I found the cat on a cloudy day, so it occurred to me that maybe it stayed hidden when the sun was out - the passionvines it was on are real thick, and it could have easily hidden there. I brought it in to raise myself in one of the cages on my covered and always shady porch, so there was no sunlight there. I've put it in sunlight to make its picture a few times, but it was late in the afternoon, and I didn't keep it out for long, so I really don't know if it's light sensitive, but I suspect it is.
It's been eating a lot today, so it'll probably molt one more time, them pupate. Of course, gulf frits don't stay in their chrysalis very long, so it shouldn't be too long before I get a butterfly. I'll post another picture of it, if it changes after the next molt.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 11:09PM
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KC Clark - Zone 2012-6a OH

Did the butterfly look normal?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 1:57AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

The chrysalis turned black pretty quickly, as I recall, but I kept it anyway for many months. I had hoped that this was just another abnormal color variation, not a dead chrysalis, which is what a black one normally is. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, it was dead. I guess the genetic abnormality that caused the odd coloring was what kept it from becoming a butterfly.
Edith at the Shady Oak Butterfly Farm had a white one that DID become a butterfly - it was much paler than normal. Since the beauty of gulf frits is the intense color of the newly emerged adults, a pallid one isn't desirable anyway.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 8:25AM
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msmorningsong(SW FL 10A)

Great learning experience for us new to butterfly gardening anyway. I wish I could take photos this nicely. :)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 10:04AM
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