Creation: Spicebush Swallowtail larvae

Papilio troilus

~Click pic to enlarge~

Photo taken by Kristen Gilpin, in Temple Terrace, Florida

The Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus) is a common black swallowtail butterfly found in North America, also known as the Green-Clouded butterfly. It has two subspecies, Papilio troilus troilus and Papilio troilus ilioneus, the latter found mainly in the Florida peninsula. The family to which Spicebush Swallowtails belong, Papilionidae, or swallowtails, include the largest butterflies in the world. The swallowtails are unique in that even while feeding, they continue to flutter their wings. The Spicebush Swallowtail derives its name from its most common host plant, the spicebush, members of the genus Lindera.

Spicebush Swallowtail larvae go through three color stages as they develop. In their first moltings they are brown and white and look like bird droppings. In their mid stage they are a brilliant green. In their last stage, the caterpillars are a deep orange red.

These caterpillars can be found rolled up inside leaves of their host plants camphor and spicebush. The larvae weave tiny pads of silk which curls the leaf around them to create a shelter.

The large eyespots of these caterpillars can startle predators and people.

This is what the two larvae became!

Photo from Wikipedia, by Greg Hume

H/t Project Noah

~Eowyn

7 responses to “Creation: Spicebush Swallowtail larvae

  1. When I was a kid I was an introvert and nature was a great friend to me. Something like this would have made my whole week.

  2. Keep em coming! Love these articles.

  3. Thank you Dr.Eowyn for this remarkable post! The detailed designs in the larvae are geometrically perfect, and the swallowtail butterly is gorgeous! Thank you God for creating all of the wonderful creatures in our world! Praise and glory to You, Lord, God, FOREVER AND EVER!

  4. Normally, I’m not a fan of the insect world, as I was in the land-surveying biz for three decades.

    But butterflies are really cool, as are lightning bugs. :-)

    -Dave

  5. The spicebush photo has been taken from wikipedia and published here without attribution. You are free to use the image only if you provide proper attribution. “Photo by Greg Hume”
    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Spicebush02.jpg

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