Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Black Swallowtail caterpillars - Papilio polyxenes

Black Swallowtail caterpillars - Papilio polyxenes
Gainesville, Florida, USA
May 14, 2004
I'm adding this to the gallery because it shows two stages of the larval development - an earlier (third, I think) instar to the left and a later (fourth) one to the right. The dill plant was loaded with both kinds, and the next day they had all molted and looked like the one on the right. I have read that the striped warning coloration develops on later instars when they have accumulated enough chemicals from the host plant to become distasteful, and that the earlier ones are colored for better camouflage.

Moved from Black Swallowtail.

Comment viewing options
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click 'Save settings' to activate your changes.