Mysterious under-log chrysalis and clearwing sphinx
Location:  Southern Illinois
September 27, 2010 8:05 pm
Was out flipping over logs with the boyos today, and found this chrysalis on the underside of a log, surrounded by fungus, but apparently none the worse for the wear. Still wiggled when we teased it.
I’ve googled my first few guesses as to what forest butterfly it may belong to. Doesn’t seem to be a Mourning Cloak or a Comma. No particularly distinctive protrusions, and no metallic reflector bits. Found in open forest, under a log.
Does it look familiar to you?
Also attaching a clearwing sphinx shot that turned out well from the other week.
Signature:  Bert

Tiger Swallowtail Chrysalis

Hi Bert,
We do not recognize this pupa, and we did a quick check on BugGuide, but did not have any luck.  We suspect this may be a moth pupa and not a butterfly pupa.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to supply a response and identification.

Karl Identifies the Mystery Pupa
Hi Daniel and Bert:
I can’t be entirely certain but this looks very much like the overwintering pupa of an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus). Swallowtail chrysalids are typically attached to a twig, branch or tree trunk by a silk girdle, but some species do pupate on the ground. Eastern Swallowtail caterpillars always chose a pupation site near the ground, and they quite often pupate on or among the leaf litter on the forest floor where the chrysalis is protected by its cryptic texture and coloration. In addition to the grey-brown coloration, characteristics include greenish patches of varying extent and intensity, two horns on the head and one horn at the top of the thorax. It looks to me as if all of these features are evident on this individual. How it got under the log remains a bit of a mystery, but I suppose the caterpillar could have crawled under it, or perhaps the chrysalis somehow rolled under. Anyway, that is my best guess. Regards.  Karl

Thank you Karl,
It appears you have identified yet another mystery for us.

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