Subject: A new creature for me
Location: SW Orange County –
June 3, 2017 1:17 pm
I have lived in NC, in the woods, for over 25 years but this was new. I didn’t even know where to begin looking it up: Beetle? Bug? Caterpillar? Poisonous for my hens or safe?
This is the caterpillar of a Pipevine Swallowtail, Battus philenor. Adult Pipevine Swallowtails are lovely greenish-blue butterflies with orange spots on the undersides of the wings. According to BugGuide: “Caterpillar is quite distinctive, may be a mimic of the tropical onychophorans, called velvet worms. Dark brownish black (occasionally smoky red) with soft fleshy tentacle-like projections, usually red-orange dorsal warts over abdomen. Tentacles on T1 twice as long as those on following segments. ” We are post-dating your submission to go live later in the month when our editorial staff is away on holiday.
Thank you! Yes, what a beautiful butterfly from such a distinctly different caterpillar. And the caterpillar was so large! I really appreciate learning more about my friends in Nature. Virginia Leslie