What caterpillar is that eating milkweed?

Posted on by Kathie Fife
Every year I allow a few milkweed plants to grow under my window in the kitchen. When it flowers it has a beautiful fragrance that comes through the house during early evening when there is a gentle breeze. I also like to attract butterflies, like monarchs, that rely on the milkweed family to lay their eggs.
This photo is of the Milkweed Tussock Moth (Euchaetes egle) caterpillar.
Milkweed Tussock Moth

Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillars

Fortunately, a few bats still come out here at night that seemed to have survived the devastating white-nose syndrome. Typically the bats love to eat moths, but like the monarch, the tussock moth has a special defense that it obtains from the sap of the milkweed that makes it poisonous to eat.
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2 Responses to What caterpillar is that eating milkweed?

Nancy Saccoccio says: September 8, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Should I be concerned about the Tussock moth caterpillars on my milkweed plants in late summer?

Kathie Fife says: September 8, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Hi Nancy,

Sometimes the caterpillars will consume all the leaves, but my plants have always come back the following year. At this late in the season, they should be ok. Do you have any that have developed pods? If so, just them them reseed on their own and the milkweeds should be fine.


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