Subject: What kind of caterpiller is this?
Location: Clearfield County PA
September 4, 2012 10:10 am
We were recently at a family get together in PA (near the DuBois area) and we found this caterpiller crawling on te picnic table. My son wanted to keep it and look it up when we got home to see what kind it was. (A few years ago we had found what turned out to be a polyphemus moth when it was a caterpiller & it spun it’s home over night so we found out how to care for it until it emerged the following spring. Quite a nice way to learn & observe 1st hand.). Have you any idea what this caterpiller will turn out to be since it has also spun it’s home already?
Signature: Curious in Ohio
Dear Curious in Ohio,
This is the caterpillar of a Black Swallowtail, a lovely, large butterfly with black wings and numerous spots and markings. For the record, Black Swallowtails do not spin a cocoon. The caterpillar will spin a silken girdle to support the chrysalis in an upright position, but the chrysalis is otherwise bare.
Thank you so much. Can you tell me if there is anythign specific we should do to make sure it is well through the chrysalis stage? Also – when will it emerge? Thanks!
Ensure it is not too dry nor too damp. Give it fresh air. We suspect it will remain in the chrysalis for several weeks. We found a wonderful page on Joyful Butterfly that should answer all your questions.