Black Swallowtail Caterpillar
Black swallowtail caterpillars are eating machines, growing from
2 mm (.08 inches) to 4 cm (1.57 inches). All species of swallowtail caterpillars
have a special gland that secretes bad-smelling and bad-tasting chemicals
to help keep predators away. They molt, or shed their skin, five times.
Their coloration and appearance change dramatically as they grow. Many
spend the winter season as pupae, a middle stage of development, before
finishing their transformation into butterflies in the spring. The adult
black swallowtail butterfly looks a lot like a poisonous cousin, the pipevine
swallowtail, confusing predators.
||3-4 weeks until pupation
|Herbivore. Leaves from the parsley family: fennel, dill, carrot, celery, Queen Anne's lace, and others.
|Predators and Threats
|Birds, spiders, and other insects.
|Open meadows and backyards wherever their favorite plants grow; ranging from southern Canada into Mexico.