Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)June 21, 2013

My two spicebush swallowtail cats stay inside their nests most of the time, but when I passed by the cage today, one was outside eating. It's at that stage where it's still brown, but you can see the yellow spots on the back of the head -

I hope one of these is a male and one is a female, so, hopefully, they'll mate and lay more eggs on my sassafras, which is plentiful, and spicebush which is scanty but growing!

Sherry

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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Wonderful shot Sherry! Looks good and healthy. I don't recall that mine had yellow spots that were quite as bright as that.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 5:41PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I put a fresh branch of sassafras in the cage for the ever growing spicebush caterpillars -

Sherry

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 2:10PM
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mary_littlerockar(8a-7b mid Arkansas)

I smile every time I see a photo of these little guys. Even though I know better, the 'little face' seems so real and is so comical.

Great shot, Sherry. Thank you for sharing.

Mary

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 12:04PM
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alex928 Z8/LA

That's so cute. I've always thought they look like little toy caterpillars. :) I can see why predators might be fooled by those spots. Even I have trouble not thinking of them as actual eyes.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 12:34AM
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tom123_gw

They are very striking--and wonderful pics, Sherry.

I have had great difficulty finding a host plant for them in my garden. I'm too far south for Sassafras; I do have a spicebush that is fairly large, but they don't seem to use it very much. I do see them around though, so they must be using something for larval food.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 11:57AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

I think they use camphor tree and red bay/swamp bay (like palamedes swallowtails) in Florida, Tom. Camphor tree grows here, but it's not very common. Which reminds me, there's a camphor tree growing on the property where my dogs' groomers operate - I need to check it out for eggs and/or cats. I don't know if the locals use it or not.

Sherry

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 2:35PM
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bandjzmom(7 NWGeorgia)

Cuteness galore!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 6:23PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

The spicebush cats have long since pupated, one chrysalis is brown and the other one green. I expect them to emerge pretty soon.

I found one little bitty spicebush swallowtail caterpillar in its nest on the other side of the property today. There was another nest with nothing in it. I figured it got eaten by a spider or something, or maybe the nest was the first one this cat made? I don't really think so. I'll check back later in case the other cat was somewhere else on the plant and I missed it.

Sherry

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 3:43PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

The brown one emerged today, a big boy! He flew out of the cage so quickly I couldn't get his picture.

Hopefully, I'll be able to get a picture of the one in the green chrysalis when it emerges.

My three little cats are eating and pooping, so all is well there.

Sherry

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 12:34PM
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