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Red-spotted purple cat?

Posted by jeanner SW Ohio - Z6 (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 18, 10 at 22:23

Can you tell from a picture if it is a red-spotted purple or a viceroy cat? My Caterpillars of Eastern North America book says that they are similar but the rsp is less spiny, th scolus on head and spine clusters are proportionately smaller and the round humps are larger and antlers slightly more clubbed than the viceroy. But since I haven't seen either, it's hard to make a comparison. I did find the cats on crabapple trees. Do I have to wait to see what comes out?

Here are the pictures that I have ...

As I found the first one on the crabapple tree ...

Looking like seahorses here ....

Strange chrysalis .....


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Red-spotted purple cat?

Based on the host plant alone, they almost have to be red-spotted purples. While red-spotted purples will sometimes use willow - they mostly use Prunus or Malus - viceroys almost never use anything other than willow. Plus, they've got the darker coloring that I've noticed is typical of RSPs.
Congrats on the cats and chrysalides - as usual, your pictures are stunning!
Sherry


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RE: Red-spotted purple cat?

Thanks Sherry, that makes it easy then! My book says cherry,oak and poplar for the RSP's and willow,aspen and poplar for the viceroy so that wasn't helping me any. Is there a better resource for the host plants than the book that I am using?


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RE: Red-spotted purple cat?

jeanner, your pictures are AMAZING!!! Wow! Some people might be repulsed by the appearance of this cat and its chrysalis, but I think it is just fascinating!


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RE: Red-spotted purple cat?

They are a little bizarre looking! I'm still new at this so it's fun to see all the different cats.

And now there are three .... a third one has climbed the same stick and pupated ... with the same spacing as the other two.


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RE: Red-spotted purple cat?

Aspen doesn't even grow here, Jeanner, so I imagine your list was compiled by someone up north. My best book for host plants is Florida Butterfly Gardening by Minno&Minno, but then I'm in southeast MS, which used to be a part of west Florida, so that figures.
I've got a book, The Butterflies of West Virginia and Their Caterpillars, by Thomas J. Allen, that would be great for your area - great information and great pictures!
Sherry


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RE: Red-spotted purple cat?

I found a RSP wandering on my Norway maple a few years ago and I finished raising it on those maple leaves.

My experience makes me want to do hostplant experiments with RSPs but I never have enough of their eggs to do that.

KC


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RE: Red-spotted purple cat?

Thanks MissScherry I will see if I can find that book. There are some native aspens growing in Hocking Hills, Ohio but (unfortunately) I don't live there !

I just found these on Sunday and the last one pupated today, I found 5 in all. I'd like to find some smaller ones to raise - now that I know what to look for I will be keeping an eye out for more.


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RE: Red-spotted purple cat?

Wow.....what fantastic pics Jeanne!


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RE: Red-spotted purple cat?

Jeanne, red-spotted purples lay their eggs on the very end of the leaf, and the caterpillar makes a string out from the leaf. Here's a close-up picure of an egg -
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
And here are three very early instar cats, the way they look naturally -
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Here's a close-up of an early instar cat, showing the saddle -
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
And here's a picture of a middle instar cat -
Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Sherry


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RE: Red-spotted purple cat?

Jeanne, Thank you for posting those great pics of your red-spotted purple.

We have had so many of these this summer (probably a dozen around today~~we put some old melon out and they loved it)we were wondering where they could be coming from...now at least we know what to look for and where to look.

We do have a few prunus and malus around so we should probably start looking there for the cats.

Thanks, everyone, for the pics and details.


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RE: Red-spotted purple cat?

Thanks for the shots of the little guys, now I will know what to look for.

Yes, they definitely like the melon and the bananas. This is my first year to put out fruit and I am amazed at how many different kinds of butterflies have come to it. I've got some peaches "cooking" that are almost ready to be served.


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RE: Red-spotted purple cat?

I'm not sure if you have to be a Facebook member or not to see this photo. Anyway, it is a comparison photo of viceroy and RSP that Edith at Shady Oak posted.

Here is a link that might be useful: Viceroy vs Red Spotted Purple


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