Painted Lady Caterpillars!
We are starting to see Painted Lady Vanessa cardui caterpillars in our garden.
This is the first time we planted mallow shrubs, including the California native Lavatera assurgentiflora "Island Mallow" and non-native Anisodontea sp. 'Strybing Beauty'.
At first it was a mystery what kind of caterpillars these are, since we weren't aware that mallow plants are hosts for Painted Lady caterpillars. Apparently, if there are many of them on a mallow, they could strip it of leaves, just as Monarch caterpillars complete denude milkweeds.
Currently we have one caterpillar on the Strybing Beauty (photo above), and one on an Island Mallow (photo below)