Weird caterpillar in BC
Hi there:
I just found this guy today (Sep 5/05) crawling up the side of my house in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. Any ideas? He’s got several rows of 4 blue dots each and what look like false eyes on his back, and is about 1.5 inches long. I live next to an apple orchard and asked the owner who said he’d never seen anything like it. Let me know, please!

Hi Bill,
This is a Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar. Most specimens are green, but we have been getting images of these purplish brown ones this year. They feed on leaves from cherry, birch, poplar, ash and tulip trees. Perhaps they eat apple as well.

Ed. Note: Eric Eaton just provided this addendum: “From what I understand, the swallowtail caterpillars turn brown just before they pupate, which makes sense since they usually pupate on brown surfaces (tree branches, fence rails, and the like). That is a really nice specimen the person photographed. Keep up the great work. Eric ”

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