Photo for the Orange, white and black caterpillar – can’t identify
We hope you can help us out. A photo of our unknown caterpillar is attached. We found it on May 9th in the garden eating a parsely plant. We live in South East Florida (near Fort Lauderdale). The caterpillary is fairly small, about 1/2 an inch in size. It has black and white stripes around it, with orange dots at the base of black horns or bristles on each segment. We found one photo of something similar on the Internet, but it was not identified. Can you help?
The Castro Family
Dear Castro Family,
Caterpillars shed their skins going through stages known as instars. This is an earlier instar of a Black Swallowtail Caterpillar, Papilio polyxenes. According to BugGuide, the caterpillar changes dramatically with each molt. They are sometimes called Carrotworms or Parsleyworms since they feed on the leaves of carrots as well as parsley and other plants in that family.