Orange-Barred Sulphur Butterfly Caterpillars  
An Orange-Barred Sulphur Butterfly was busily laying eggs on a Cassia Bush while I fruitlessly tried to photograph her in the process. They are extremely fast butterflies.

Here is one of her eggs:

Orange-barred sulphur butterfly egg on a cassia leaf
Orange-barred sulphur butterfly egg on a cassia leaf
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 grow.

Butterfly caterpillars go through five growth stages called instars.

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 than others.
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 caterpillars:
Orange-barred sulphur butterfly caterpillar on a half chewed cassia leaf
Orange-barred sulphur caterpillar on a cassia leaf
photograph
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.)
Orange-barred sulphur butterfly caterpillar on cassia
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:
dead caterpillar
dead sulphur butterfly caterpillar
spined soldier bug eating an orange-barred sulphur butterfly caterpillar
spined soldier bug eating an orange-barred sulphur butterfly caterpillar
As I moved in to get closer photographs, the spined soldier bug retreated into the foliage with its prey.

I grabbed it.

spined soldier bug eating an orange-barred sulphur butterfly caterpillar
I'm somewhat fond of many of my bugs, but this particular bug will not be feasting on any more butterfly caterpillars!
spined soldier bug eating an orange-barred sulphur butterfly caterpillar
spined soldier bug
Site Map:
Butterflies
Moths
Caterpillars
Diving, Wading & Wetland Birds
Warblers & Little Birds
More Birds
Snakes, Lizards, and Slithery Critters
Spiders
Squishy Bugs
Lowes lied to me
Crunchy Bugs
More Creatures
Butterfly Nectar Plants
Butterfly & Moth Host Plants
Wetland plants
Vines
Lawn Weeds
Wildflowers
Other Plants & Fungi
Shrub, Bush & Tree Sized Plants
Paper Folding: Origami Bird, Egg, and Nest
Paper Quilling: Snowflake Ornaments
Cut Paper Snowflakes
Butterfly Garden Basics
My Email, Image Use Information, Credits & Disclaimer
Index of everything that didn't fit on one of the other main pages
Privacy Policy
Lowes lied to me