Spicebush Swallowtail

Butterflies apparently love September in Florida!  Who doesn’t?  Not that we don’t see them pretty much all year, but there have been a lot of Monarchs laying eggs and caterpillars chowing down on what’s left of the milkweed.     

We’ve also been keeping an eye on the Camphor Tree outside the Family Room window.     The other day, as we were reading Charles Dickens’, Great Expectations, we noticed a Spicebush Swallowtail visiting the tree.  Up until today, we have seen no trademark curled up leaves.  Tonight when we got home, I thoroughly inspected it again and found this little guy:

He’s only about 1/2 inch in length now, but hopefully we’ll be able to track him through the rest of his metamorphosis.   I’m sure not many of you have a favorite caterpillar, but this one is mine!   I know, I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to nature!   But let me show you what happens next…..


OK…see what I mean?  What’s not to love, right?  And those eyes?  Not real!  (They’re just there for disguise!)  And if that’s not enough, try the next stage….


Before they move on to the chrysalis stage, they turn orange!  Incredible, right??

  1. #1 by appliejuice on September 22, 2010 - 10:39 pm

    COOL! I didn’t know they did that. They are very cute. All we have seen around here are the Monarchs. We don’t have the right plants. 😦

  2. #2 by Loretta on September 23, 2010 - 3:00 pm

    Last year I brought a tiger swallowtail caterpillar inside, along with some of the leaves it was feeding on (my parsley plants!) By keeping the leaves in water in a mason jar, and changing them as needed, we were able to watch the entire transformation. When he emerged from the chrysalis, he sat on my fingers for quite a while before flying away. (My teenaged boys still appreciate the transformation, but they’re not as into the wonder of handling him!) Also, I don’t know about other swallowtail varieties, but tiger swallowtails love anything in the carrot family – carrot tops, parsley leaves, Queen Anne’s lace, etc.)

  3. #3 by Marty on September 28, 2010 - 10:57 pm

    very cool. =)

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