Another Red Pipevine Swallotail Caterpillar?
Dear What’s That Bug,
I found this in Austin, Texas at our Barton Springs trail. Is this for sure a Red Pipevine Swallotail? If so, what plants do they normally eat? I want to paint this wonderful creature and would very much like to include accurate plantlife in my picture. Thanks for your help!
Denise Garza

Hi Denise,
With caterpillars, the best way to determine food sources it to check the plant the caterpillar was found eating. Your Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillar, Battus philenor, should enjoy eating upon its namesake Pipevine Family plants, such as Dutchman’s Pipe and Virginia Snakeroot. The plants have toxins in the leaves and the caterpillar absorbs those toxins which make them inedible to birds and other preying dangers. Here is a site with some nice images and information.

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