update on mysterious milkweed caterpillars?

Laurel Godley godley at hotmail.com
Thu Jun 4 17:14:43 EDT 1998

I have now been told that the plant on which these caterpillars are 
feeding is california goldenrod (solidago californica.)  I still have 
not id. what they are though.  The largest is going on three inches now.  
Again with black & white banding, three long yellow strips the length of 
it's body.  The body is very smooth.  The very small ones tend to move 
along in an inch worm fashion and will rear up dramitically on their 
back legs when bothered.  Could they be some sort of large moth?  The 
caterpillers seem very butterfly like to me and as mentioned quite large 
so far. 

I found four more today but also found twice as many that have been 
parisitized.  The resulting wasp/fly pupa case is about half the size of 
a tachnid fly pupa case.  The coloring is dark with several light 
splotches.  Very colorful/interesting compared to other parasitic insect 
pupa I have seen.

Please, please help.  The suspense is killing me!


>I have found several caterpillars on what I am nearly certain is 
>fascicularis. Naturally I thought they were Monarch caterpillars. When
>looking them up to confirm this, I realized they lack the 
>feelers. Next I think,a queen? But again no feelers, zero, zip, nada. I 
>perhaps they were immature but was told by a knowledgeable friend that
>even the small ones have the feelers. 
>The caterpillars coloring is more like a queens, black and white zebra
>striping. There are three yellow lines running the length of the body
>perpendicular to the striping. One line is in the middle of the back 
>other two are on each side near the feet. Each foot is mostly white 
>black at the very end. Any thoughts? If geography helps, I live in San 
>Thanks,  Laurel

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