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Canadian Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar - Papilio canadensis

Canadian Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar - Papilio canadensis
Greater City of Sudbury, Fairbank Lake, Ontario, Canada
August 12, 2012
Size: approx 3cm
How wonderful! A Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (due to my Ontario location?). I watched it for 2 hours and it did not move, yet when I returned to see it the following morning this caterpillar had vanished, I had assumed it was ready to pupate! (never assume)

Images of this individual: tag all
Canadian Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar - Papilio canadensis Tiger Swallowtail - Papilio canadensis Tiger Swallowtail - Papilio canadensis Tiger Swallowtail - Papilio canadensis

I don't know if you are too far north for Eastern Tigers or not
but we'll go with Canadian.

This does not look ready to pupate to me (too short and stumpy). They usually are more "filled up" looking, being proportionately longer, when it's time. Also, when they get really close to pupating, they most often turn to a color other than bright green (pinkish or brownish are common, but a duller green is common too).

They are somewhat nocturnal and do most of their moving and feeding at night (depending somewhat on weather and temperatures). Also, if they sense a presence, they may feel threatened and not move for the duration (in hopes that you won't see them, I suppose). They can't move fast, and a run away response doesn't seem to be part of their usual behavior. They may try to act agressive though - which isn't very threatening at all to the average curious human.

Moved from ID Request.

Yes, it was a very fresh looking green,
yet it seemed that it had some webbing under it, was that a way for it to hang on?

I have to admit that I don't pay close enough attention
all of the time, but yes they often spin webbing in resting places, or where they are about to shed their skin. However, when they are about to pupate, they usually wander away from the host plant, and tend to favor places such as bark of a tree trunk, brick walls, rock overhangs, etc. Though they do pupate among foliage sometimes, and yes, they do make silk pads where they are going to pupate too. Also, it could be that something ate this little critter (but we would hope not).

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