Ruddy Daggerwing Butterfly; Marpesia petreus

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Ruddy Daggerwing   Marpesia petreus

Host plant: Fig Ficus sp..
Scroll down for information about the lifecycle of Ruddy Daggerwing butterflies. Click on any photo to view a larger version.
Ruddy Daggerwing butterfly (Marpesia petreus) adult Florida
Ruddy Daggerwing butterfly (Marpesia petreus) early instar caterpillar (larva) makes a string of frass on the edge of the leaf
Ruddy Daggerwing butterfly (Marpesia petreus) larva caterpillar is orange and black with four spikes and two antennae.
Ruddy Daggerwing adult
Marpesia petreus
Photo by Carolyn Walsh
An early instar caterpillar (larva)
makes a line out of frass
to sit upon when not eating.
Caterpillars are orange and
black with four black spikes
and black antennae.
Ruddy Daggerwing butterfly (Marpesia petreus) larva caterpillar is orange and black with four spikes and two antennae.
Ruddy Daggerwing butterfly (Marpesia petreus) prolegs are hairy
Ruddy Daggerwing butterfly (Marpesia petreus) chrysalis (pupa) is green with black spikes
Ruddy Daggerwing larvae
normally are found on the
sides or bottoms of leaves.
Ruddy Daggerwing prolegs
(back five sets of legs)
are hairy.
Ruddy Daggerwing butterfly
chrysalis (pupa)
are green with black spikes.
Ruddy Daggerwing butterfly (Marpesia petreus) chrysalis (pupa) turns orange and yellow with black spikes before it emerges.
Ruddy Daggerwing butterfly (Marpesia petreus) on its host plant strangler fig (Ficus aurea)
Ruddy Daggerwing butterfly (Marpesia petreus) orange with black stripes
The day before the butterfly
emerges, it turns orange and yellow.
Ruddy Daggerwing butterfly
on its host plant
strangler fig Ficus aurea
Ruddy Daggerwing adults
are orange with black stripes
and long black tails.
Photo by Carolyn Walsh


Found on the right side of Lake Okeechobee, these caterpillars were colorful and a delight to raise.

Like the adult form, their primary colors are orange and black. Their host plants are in the Ficus family.

These caterpillars were found and raised on Strangler Fig, Ficus aurea.

Eggs are laid near the edge of a leaf. The caterpillar (larva) hatches, starts to eat the edge of the leaf, and makes a line of frass upon which it rests while not eating. Strangler fig leaves 'bleed' white sap when broken.

If you are searching for these caterpillars in the wild, watch for traces of white on the leaves, a sign that the leaves have been damaged; by caterpillars, wind, bugs, or other causes. The caterpillars are orange and black. Four black spikes are along their backs. They boast two black antennae.

The chrysalis (pupa) is green with black trimmings. The day before the adult emerges, the wing pads of the chrysalis turns orange and the abdomen of the chrysalis turns yellow.

Ruddy Daggerwing butterflies are reported to be found in southern Florida, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Colorado, and Mexico as well as other countries.

Ruddy Daggerwing adult butterflies prefer to drink nectar from flowers as their primary food source.