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Eastern Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

Papilio polyxenes


The larvae of this species changes color quite dramatically with each molt. These pictures show the last instar, which is green with black bands dotted with yellow spots on each segment.


I spotted two of these caterpillars on fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) in a rural garden.


Larvae feed primarily on plants of the carrot family and some in the rue family. They are often found on dill, parsley, fennel, carrot, and rue in gardens. In the wild, they may be found on queen-anne's-lace, poison hemlock, and lovage. The common name(s) for the caterpillars vary so much since they can be found on so many different and important cultivated plants. To give it a common name, it seems that you just pick the host plant and then add the word "worm" afterwards.

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maplemoth662 6 years ago

Your welcome, Christine....

Christine Y.
Christine Y. 6 years ago

Thanks maplemoth for your very kind words, and I'm happy to be able to share this beautiful caterpillar with the PN community :)

maplemoth662 6 years ago

Photo No. 5, which shows your very beautiful caterpillar, would win first prize, in an art or photography contest....Your very beautiful caterpillar, from Photo No. 5, is a Winner....

maplemoth662 6 years ago

Congratulations, on your nomination Christine....

Zlatan Celebic
Zlatan Celebic 6 years ago

Beautiful shots.

Christine Y.
Christine Y. 6 years ago

Thank you for the nomination!

AshleyT 6 years ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

outsidegirl0 6 years ago

wow great shot!

Christine Y.
Christine Y. 6 years ago

Thanks Mark.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 6 years ago

Nice spotting.

maplemoth662 6 years ago

Your welcome, Christine.....

Christine Y.
Christine Y. 6 years ago

Thanks maplemoth :)

maplemoth662 6 years ago

Very beautiful photos, and a very beautiful caterpillar....

Christine Y.
Spotted by
Christine Y.

Connecticut, USA

Spotted on Sep 27, 2017
Submitted on Sep 27, 2017

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