Location: Southeastern Ohio
August 14, 2010 4:46 pm
My husband found this critter on our cucumber plant. We live in Amanda Ohio (southeaster Ohio). Please help identify this bug.
This is a most unusual sighting, not because of what your found, but because of where you found it. Whenever a caterpillar if found, identification is easier if the plant upon which the caterpillar is found is identified because often the food plant is very limited. This is a Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar, Papilio troilus. According to BugGuide, the Caterpillar of the Spicebush Swallowtail feeds on: “Spicebush (Lindera benzoin), Sassafras trees (Sassafras albidum), Pondspice (Litsea aestivalis) Red, Swamp and Silk Bays (Persea spp.); perhaps prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum), Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), Sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana), and Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora).” Are any of these plants growing near your cucumber plant? We suspect this caterpillar is ready to metamorphose into a chrysalis. At that time, many caterpillars leave the host plant to search for a suitable location in which to transform to the sedentary phase of their life while preparing to become a winged butterfly or moth. We suspect today you may find a very different looking critter.