help identifying caterpillar!

Anne Kilmer viceroy at
Tue Oct 10 18:45:43 EDT 2000

Or it could be a zebra longwing; Heliconius charitonius. Was it on
passionvine? Did you notice what it was eating? When you adopt a
caterpillar it is a good idea to make sure that you know, and will be
able to provide, plenty of its host plant ... otherwise you wind up
wringing your hands and watching your little one starve. 
The ifas site will doubtless help you decide ... and you may be able to
find the host plant at a nursery. If it's S. epilais, it will also eat
Adenium obesum, the Desert Rose, which you can buy as a house plant. It
ain't cheap. I assume you're back in New Jersey? If in Florida, you
should have no trouble providing host plant for either possibility. 
Good luck
Anne Kilmer
South Florida

Richard Worth wrote:
> Hi there,
> It sounds like you may have the infamous oleander caterpillar,
> Syntomeida epilais.   Check out the following website to see if it
> looks right:
> This site has all you probably want to know about it.  It is
> considered a pest, although it is a native.  It increased in numbers
> and distribution when people started planting ornamental oleanders.
> The native host is Echites umbellata found in South Florida.  Good
> luck.   Rich
> >Hi Everyone! I was in Tampa, Florida this weekend and found a
> >great-looking caterpillar, and I'm wondering what exactly it is. It's
> >bright orange with long black, hairly looking spikes all over it. It's
> >about and inch and a half long. I'm sure it's probably very common in
> >Florida, but being a girl from New Jersey, it looks totally exotic and
> >mysterious to me. :) Any help in feeding and rearing would be VERY much
> >appreciated. Thanks!
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >-Shulamis
> >
> >shulamis at
> >
> >
> >
> >Sent via
> >Before you buy.
> Richard A. Worth
> Oregon Department of Agriculture
> Plant Division
> rworth at
> (503) 986-6461

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