Find Butterfly Eggs and Caterpillars in Your Yard and Garden!
Locating butterfly eggs and caterpillars can be difficult until one learns how to locate them. There are several tips and tricks that can make this fun experience much easier.
Ceraunus Blue and Cassius Blue
Cassius Blue and Ceraunus Blue caterpillars are difficult to spot. Most of us can look directly at one and not realize it is a caterpillar instead of the flower bud of its host plant. Both of these species eat flower buds instead of leaves. The upper left photo is of a Cassius Blue caterpillar on a sprig of plumbago bloom. Do you see the caterpillar? It's over half as tall as the photo and is in plain sight. The upper middle and right photos are of a container with sprigs of flower buds and frass. The paper towel is to absorb extra moisture. Mold is NOT healthy for caterpillars.
In Marc and Maria Minno's book, Florida Butterfly Gardening: A Complete Guide to Attracting, Identifying, and Enjoying Butterflies
, Marc and Maria recommend breaking off some flower buds and placing them in a plastic container. The next day, look for frass (caterpillar excrement). Once frass is spotted, it is easier to find the caterpillar. In the garden, the caterpillar is nearly impossible to see, even when one is holding the flower bud. It works beautifully! (A special thank you to Marc and Maria.)
The eggs of the Ceraunus Blue butterfly are pale blue and are found on the flower buds of hairy indigo and other related plants; Indigofera sp.
. The eggs of the Cassius Blue butterfly are white/cream and are found on plumbago flower buds.
The upper left photo is of frass in a container with a Ceraunus Blue caterpillar (you can't see the caterpillar). The middle photo is of a Ceraunus Blue butterfly on one of its host plants, Hairy Indigo. The upper right photo is of a Cassius Blue butterfly laying an egg on plumbago flower buds, its host plant.
Although these two butterflies are very similar, it's easy to tell which is which species. A Ceraunus Blue butterfly has one black dot on the bottom of it's hind wings on the outside. Cassius Blue butterflies have two black dots in the same location. (A special thanks to Bill Berthet for sharing this identification tip with us. We didn't know before he showed the difference to us.)
Watch this page as we add more species - how to find other species of butterfly eggs and caterpillars in nature.