caterpillar with black head, body color is made of white and black dots. It has black spines and it has a single black like running down the back with a single row of red spots on that black line. This little fellow really moves fast and I think it was trying to crawl up to my Passion Fruit vines. (San Diego, CA)
Your caterpillar is a mourning cloak that turns into a butterfly that is brownish-black with yellow-tan bands on the outer edges of the wings.
Larvae eat primarily willow, but will feed on cottonwood, aspen, American elm, paper birch, and hackberry. Caterpillars live in a communal web and feed together on young leaves. Since your caterpillar is on the move… it may be in the last stage before turning into a pupa.
Adults feed primarily on tree sap (oaks preferred) and rotting fruit.
This butterfly is found all over North America. It is usually found near a wooded area.
Caution:Do not touch the larva; its spines may cause a stinging sensation if handled.