Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

Anise Swallowtail Caterpillar

Papilio zelicaon


The green eggs are laid singly on plants of the Magnoliaceae and Rosaceae families. Young caterpillars are brown and white; older ones are green with two black, yellow, and blue eyespots on the thorax. The caterpillar will turn brown prior to pupating. It will reach a length of 5.5 centimetres (2.2 in). The chrysalis varies from a whitish color to dark brown. Hibernation occurs in this stage in locations with cold winter months.


This beautifully colored little fella was found in a riparian area right smack in the middle of suburban San Jose.


maplemoth662 3 years ago

Four, beautiful photos....a beautiful caterpillar....

KarenSaxton 7 years ago

I grew up playing with anise swallowtails and growing them on wild fennel.

ForestDragon 7 years ago

Great series, Joshua! I especially like pictures 2 and 3. :) I love watching them eat!

Papilio zelicaon (missing an "o" in the suggestion). I agree with Karen that it is most likely an Anise Swallowtail! Tiger Swallowtail caterpillars look much different than this.

Here is another reference for the Anise Swallowtail:

Info on Papilio glaucus for comparison (scroll down the page to see the life stages of the caterpillar):

Dilan Chathuranga
Dilan Chathuranga 7 years ago

Nice spottings Asel!!!

KarenSaxton 7 years ago

This late in the year? That tops my Painted Lady adult in Bandon Or, however that is an anise swallowtail, as per visual id and the food. Tiger's feed on tree leaves

Josh Asel
Spotted by
Josh Asel

San José, California, USA

Spotted on Nov 22, 2013
Submitted on Nov 26, 2013

Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors

Join the Project Noah Team Join Project Noah Team