Caterpillar Surprise

by Donna Lewis

Believe it or not I just found this beautiful caterpillar this week, on October 14, 2020.

Eastern Black Swallowtail  (PAPILIO POLYXENES)

It’s not really the time of year I would expect to find it, but here it is.

Also, if you notice this is not the normal color of this species.  It would most often be more green with white stripes and yellow spots.  

It’s black!

Since it was on a fennel plant in my garden, that gave me a hint of what it might be. When I looked it up, it was noted that once in a while this butterfly’s caterpillar is black. I have never seen this myself in my garden. Interesting!

The Pipe-vine caterpillar is the only other species that has the two colors on a regular basis in my area. So the lesson we have here is that the plant has a lot to do about identifying a species. 

I have to say, it’s pretty neat that this caterpillar has the ability to have two different morphs.

Nature has so many surprises.

1 thought on “Caterpillar Surprise”

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