Caterpillar with black head (Mourning Cloak caterpillar)

by Gerald Massimei
(San Diego, CA)



caterpillar with black head, body color is made of white and black dots. It has black spines and it has a single black like running down the back with a single row of red spots on that black line. This little fellow really moves fast and I think it was trying to crawl up to my Passion Fruit vines.

Comments for Caterpillar with black head (Mourning Cloak caterpillar)

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Mourning Cloak caterpillar
by: Moni

Your caterpillar is a mourning cloak that turns into a butterfly that is brownish-black with yellow-tan bands on the outer edges of the wings.

Larvae eat primarily willow, but will feed on cottonwood, aspen, American elm, paper birch, and hackberry. Caterpillars live in a communal web and feed together on young leaves. Since your caterpillar is on the move... it may be in the last stage before turning into a pupa.
Adults feed primarily on tree sap (oaks preferred) and rotting fruit.

This butterfly is found all over North America. It is usually found near a wooded area.

Caution:Do not touch the larva; its spines may cause a stinging sensation if handled.

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