Passion vine butterfly caterpillar

A passion vine butterfly caterpillar on the Big Island.
I took some photos of a passion vine butterfly flitting around a hedge and when I looked at them at home I noticed a distinctive caterpillar in the background. So next day, I returned, hoping it might still be there. Not to worry. The hedge was literally crawling with them. That’s when I noticed the passion vine twining through the hedge.

The spines and orange and black coloring are nature’s way of saying ‘watch out.’ This caterpillar is poisonous if eaten, not that I was tempted. They also have a voracious appetite and can defoliate a plant, especially a young one. Certainly, the ones I watched munched their way through leaves with great thoroughness.

A passion vine butterfly caterpillar chews a leaf on the Big Island.