This past weekend we noticed 10-12 colorful little caterpillars dining on our Golden Butterflyweed bush.
We recognized them as Monarch caterpillars, with their narrow, even stripes in white, black and yellow.
But on closer inspection, there were a couple of caterpillars that looked slightly different...
These other caterpillars have the same white-black-yellow colors, but they have some wider black markings with a yellow spot in the middle. Sort of like an eyeball.
They also have three sets of black antenna-like filaments, instead of the Monarch caterpillar's two sets (one fore and one aft). We took some pics and consulted our butterflies field guide.
After looking at the caterpillar photos in the guide, we found that these are caterpillars of the Queen Butterfly. This is another butterfly that we see in our yard regularly. And they too had decided to lay their eggs in our yard. :-)
Our original blog post about Monarch caterpillars was March 4th of last year. So this year we are seeing caterpillars nearly a month earlier than previous. Not sure if it is the weather, the timing when the eggs were originally laid, or something else entirely.
"You can be the king, but watch the queen conquer."
~ Nicki Minaj