The Caterpillar Lab fosters greater appreciation and care for the complexity and beauty of our local natural history through live caterpillar educational programs, research initiatives, and photography and film projects. We believe that an increased awareness of one’s local environment is the foundation on which healthy and responsible attitudes towards the broader natural systems of this world is built.

© 2015 CATERPILLAR LAB INC.  With original artwork by Heather Reid and Samuel Jaffe

 

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SPICEBUSH SWALLOWTAIL

December 1, 2015

 

CATERPILLAR OF THE WEEK: A comical face hidden among the leaves, the spicebush swallowtail caterpillar, Papilio troilus, is one of the region's most striking and well-developed predator mimics. 
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I still remember the first time I discovered one of these charismatic caterpillars in the wild. It was like opening up a present. A folded green leaf shelter is not an uncommon site on a sassafras or spicebush plant, but not every one holds a teary eyed, bubbly clown. It is impossible not to assign this caterpillar's decorated thorax all the personality of a puppy.

 

Strange to think that the eyes and expression that make this caterpillar so personable to us, evolved to strike terror and caution into hunting warblers and wrens.

 

-Sam Jaffe
TCL Executive Director

 

"Caterpillar of the Week" will highlight a different species we grow in The Caterpillar Lab each week… or, you know, at least SOME weeks. We hope you enjoy meeting the caterpillars of New England!

More information on the spicebush swallowtail on BugGuide here:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/2648

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