help identifying caterpillar!

Richard Worth rworth at
Tue Oct 10 19:31:34 EDT 2000

Hey Anne,  I thought H. charitonius larvae were white with black 
spines.  Please let me know if there are two forms.  I only saw white 
ones while I lived in Gainesville.  I know A. vanillae larvae are 
Cheers, Rich

>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
>  >

Richard A. Worth
Oregon Department of Agriculture
Plant Division
rworth at
(503) 986-6461
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