Winter Caterpillars

My Passion Flower plant has been looking really bad. I blamed it on the cold weather.

But after moving the pot and getting a closer look, I saw what was causing the plant’s decline.

The Gulf Fritillary Butterflies that have been floating around the garden laid their eggs on the Passion Flower. Six or more caterpillars are munching away. I grow the plant to feed them, but I wasn’t expecting to see the caterpillars this late in the season. Our warm December is probably the reason the eggs were laid.

Not only are the Gulf Fritillaries enjoying the plant, but there are also some red-headed bugs getting sustenance. Can you find the little head peeking out from behind the dead leaves?

13 Comments on “Winter Caterpillars”

  1. Are you talking about the bug to the left and below the caterpillar? Critters do tend to be tencacious.

  2. Yay for the Gulf Frits! I cut my Passionvine down because the invasive lizards were eating the caterpillars…hope they make it through the cold.

  3. shoreacres says:

    That little red “extra” sure is bright, but so is the caterpillar. Do you have any idea what the red-headed one is? My first thought was assassin bug nymph, but that’s pure guess.

  4. tonytomeo says:

    Oh, that is creepy! It is staring at the camera!

  5. Tina says:

    Gulf fritillaries!! I saw a few around my garden before our first hard-ish freeze, but none since. I have some passion vine, but it’s mostly stem at this point and not much to feed on. Great shots, so nice to see life renewing!

  6. Deb says:

    Those caterpillars are sure vicious looking,never had the nerve to touch one even though I’m told they don’t sting… butterflies are sure pretty !

  7. Misti says:

    oh wow! that’s impressive they are still around. My passiflora always looks terrible or nonexistent in winter but come spring, there it is and happy as ever.

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