Milkweed Tiger Moth Caterpillars

August 13, 2015

Sometimes, when you're plant hunting, you end up finding the coolest critters instead. As I puttered around the Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore, snapping shots of plants, I was lucky enough to stumble upon some milkweed tiger moth larvae (caterpillars) munch on some Asclepias tuberosa (orange perannial butterfly weed).

Much like monarch butterfly caterpillars, the milkweed tiger moth,Euchaetes egle, harvest cardiac glycosides from milkweeds and retain them as adult moths. These compounds make them toxic to predators. Hence the bright warning colors. But really, I find them adorable! These brightly colored, and cute, caterpillars mature into a somwhat drab brown moth. Ah, youth is grand, no?

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