Very Hungry Caterpillars

Euploea mulciber

Euploea mulciber [端紫斑蝶]

Despite passing Puli’s Muh Sheng Museum of Entomology more than a dozen times I’ve never had the opportunity to step in until recently. If you’re into insects than you ‘ll likely thoroughly enjoy the museum. Outside the museum is a butterfly greenhouse while inside hosts a few display cases of various insects from Taiwan and around the world [including a walking stick about as long as my forearm]. The museum’s second floor houses display cases filled with several thousands of preserved insects. The most notable of these is an extremely rare hermaphrodite butterfly [one-half of its body is colorful while the other-half is dark].

While in the greenhouse, I snapped a few photographs of some of the caterpillars that were chomping away. The first caterpillar featured is of a Purple Crow [Euploea mulciber (端紫斑蝶)]. This butterfly along with three other subspecies make an incredible migration every spring from southern Taiwan to northern Taiwan for the breeding season. In the fall, the fly back south to hibernate [Taiwan Today – Preserving Taiwan’s purple butterflies].

Danaus chrysippus

Danaus chrysippus [樺斑蝶]

The second caterpillar featured is that of a Plain Tiger [Danaus chrysippus (樺斑蝶)]. This species is widespread in Africa and Asia and extremely common in Taiwan. If you see a bright orange butterfly with a thin black border on its hind wing enclosing a series of semicircular spots chances are good you’re looking at a Plain Tiger. In Taiwan, they can be found throughout the year at low-altitudes.

Ideopsis similis

Ideopsis similis [琉球青斑蝶]

The black caterpillar with white speckles pictured above is of a Ceylon Blue Glassy Tiger [Ideopsis similis (琉球青斑蝶)].  As a butterfly, it has dark brown wings with light cyan surface markings.  It’s often seen fluttering about at low-altitudes in Taiwan.

Papilio memnon heronus

Papilio memnon heronus [大鳳蝶]

A Great Mormon [Papilio memnon heronus (大鳳蝶)] in its larvae stage is mimicry at its finest: it scares off potential predators with its snake-like appearance. Below is a photograph of the same pair one-step back to show their entire body lengths:

Papilio memnon heronus

These two were very patient while I took pictures.  However, once they are butterflies, they very rarely stop.

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