Another First for me!

bob_71(z7 MD)October 3, 2012

For years I have had lots of Spicebush Swallowtails. I attributed this to the large number of Sassafras trees in my yard but I had never happened upon a caterpillar until a couple of days ago. My adult trees have been pruned to a point about 8'-10' so I haven't given them anything but a cursory examination for cats. Sassafras trees produce lots of "new tree" growth from their roots and I have generally removed this new growth. I unintentionally left one last year and it is about 18" tall and wide now. I was out in the yard with my camera and noticed the "gnawed on" leaves and several possible nests. These rolled up leaves were indeed inhabited and I got my first live-view caterpillar.

My grandmother never owned a toothbrush in her life...she always had a supply of "home made" Sassafras toothbrushes. She died in her late 80's with her own teeth intact so they must have worked.


Young Sassafras Tree

Un-touched nest

Partially opened nest

Nest held open exposing caterpillar

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

How darling, Bob! Please continue to leave sassafras root sprouts, with all that new growth on it - those are their favorite leaves!

Great pictures, as usual!


    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 3:27PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Great photos of one of my favorite caterpillars.

Thanks for posting.


    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 10:51AM
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Beautiful. These guys are always a favorite with the school kids that visit the butterfly house.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 8:30PM
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I just adore these sweet guys and gals. I have never gotten any except via a certain "friend" of mine who so kindly donated a couple to me to raise. I cannot get their host plants to grow for me unfortunately.

Great shots, Bob!


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:39AM
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Thanks for sharing, Bob!
I actually tried to grow Sassafras but it died because our water & soil is too alkaline! We don't get Spicebush SWTs here but do get Tigers that will use Sassafras. I do have some lilacs that are growing but have never bloomed.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 2:21PM
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bob_71(z7 MD)

Thanks to all of you who took the time to view this post and particularly those who also offered their comments.

I appreciate them all!


    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 10:34AM
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