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BUCKEYE Junonia coenia

mystery cat4.jpg (47556 bytes)I was pleasently suprised to find this strange caterpillar sitting on a Gillardia leaf one afternoon.  Aparently, it had crawled from a nearby Snapdragon plant to sleep the day away.  Of course I brought it inside to raise and watch it grow (not to mention to find out what the HECK it was!)  I had a hunch of its identity from pictures in Florida Butterfly Gardening, by the Minnos, but wasn't entirely sure.  For a few days, it was known as 'mystery cat.'  I put some snapdragonsbuckeye3.jpg (88126 bytes) in the container with the caterpillar and it ate them.  It was a really pretty caterpillar from the top ( see the pic on the right.)  I noticed it was a night-time feeder, and slept during the day.  It crawled buckeye1.jpg (50788 bytes)up the side of the container and hung along the sides, head down, during days.  At night and evenings it would come down to eat.   I was thrilled when I saw it in the "J" postition one day, and that evening, it shed its skin for the last time and went into the chrysalis stage.  The chrysalis had spots on the top side, and different colorsbuckeye top.jpg (51296 bytes) on the underside.  It only took six days to emerge!  Buckeyes buckeye under.jpg (49159 bytes)are very fast fliers, and soon as he figured out he was out of the cage, POOF!  off he flew.   I did get a good look at his topside, but wasn't able to get a pic (darn!).  I did get a good pic of his underside, as well as the caterpillar and chrysalis.

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