An Orange-Barred Sulphur Butterfly was busily laying eggs on a
Bush while I fruitlessly tried to photograph her in the process. They
are extremely fast butterflies.
Here is one of her eggs:
When butterfly caterpillars hatch, they are extremely tiny. They eat,
and quickly outgrow their skin, so they shed it. It's a lot like Blue
Crabs shedding their shell (so we can eat yummy soft crabs) as they
Butterfly caterpillars go through five growth stages called
The first instar is the caterpillar straight out of the egg. The second
through fifth instars each follow a skin shedding. Most butterfly
caterpillars look different each time they shed their skin, some more
Once the caterpillar has shed its skin four times, and is a fifth instar larvae,
it continues to devour its host plant until its ready to become a
chrysalis. Then it finds a safe place to attach itself, sheds its skin a
final time, and turns into a chrysalis, but I digress... back to those
Here you can see four instars of the larval stage of the Orange-Barred
Sulphur Butterfly. The first instar is extremely tiny, thus difficult to
photograph, therefore not here (yet.)
While I admired and photographed these little eating machines, I noticed
some unfortunate caterpillars on the same Cassia.
Hummm... it seems that we have a murder mystery on our Cassia. What is
killing the caterpillars?
Not far away from the bodies, another caterpillar fell victim to a
hungry spined soldier bug:
As I moved in to get closer photographs, the spined soldier bug retreated into the
foliage with its prey.
I grabbed it.
I'm somewhat fond of many of my bugs, but this particular bug will not
be feasting on any more butterfly caterpillars!