Caterpillars - Knowledgebase Question

Winnetka, CA
Question by mmontene
September 29, 1999
I found three spiny caterpillars with black and red stripes on my passion vine. What are they, are they beneficial insects? If so, what should I use?

Answer from NGA
September 29, 1999


Caterpillars are the larvae of moths or butterflies. It would be a shame to kill them without knowing for certain what they are. Both the Mourning Cloak and the Gulf Fritillary butterfly larvae match your description of spiny with black and red stripes. Caterpillar larvae feed on leaves, but this is the end of the season anyway, so why not allow them to feed? They may turn into beautiful butterflies! If you're convinced they're bad guys, you can hand pick and destroy them, but I think I'd just leave them alone!

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