Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

The coolest caterpillar ever at least in NJ
Location: Coastal Central NJ
November 12, 2011 9:55 pm
My daughter found this caterpillar in the road
Signature: Chris Miller

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

Hi Chris,
This is the caterpillar of a Spicebush Swallowtail.  It is widely believed that the false eyes are a type of mimicry that helps to deter predators like birds that mistake this potentially bitesized morsel for an even larger predator like a snake.

Permission to reproduce photo requested
December 1, 2011 10:08 am
Dear Daniel Marlos,
I take the liberty of writing to you because I am about to publish, at Les Éditions de la Transparence, a completely revised version of my doctoral thesis dealing with contemporary painting and entitled L’Image peinte. Enjeux et perspectives de la peinture figurative des années 90 à nos jours, which received in 2009 the Thesis Prize of the University of Aix-Marseille I.
Therefore, I would like to know if you could give us your authorization to print the following reproduction of an image of caterpillar, belonging to the corpus of my aesthetic analysis:
Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar, Coastal Central NJ, Signature Chris Miller.
Thanks in advance for your attention. I am of course entirely at your disposal to answer any question you may have regarding this book, whose publication is programmed for March 2012; a copy will be put at your disposal.
Yours sincerely,
Jean-François Desserre.

Dear Jean-Francois Desserre,
Sorry for the delay, but we are just catching up on old emails.  Thanks for writing and requesting permission to use this photo, however, the copyright does belong to Chris Miller.  We believe we have found his email address and we will copy him to see if he will grant permission.  Normally in situations like this, we request that a comment be posted directly to the original posting so that the photographer can comment.  Good luck with the publication of your thesis.

4 thoughts on “Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar”

  1. when I was a little girl 60 yrs are so,,we used to see these all the time,,we live in Illinois,, since we don’t see these are to many other pretty catepillars ,is that why you don’t see to many Butterflies. I hardly ever see big butterflies . This is sad,,It was always so fun to find one of these little worms,,and play with them. Thank You

    • In order to have butterflies, you must have food for the caterpillars. Perhaps the plants that produced the food for the Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillars no longer grow in your area. Also, children are often more observant than adults.

    • According to BugGuide: “Caterpillar hosts: Spicebush (Lindera benzoin), Sassafras trees (Sassafras albidum), Pondspice (Litsea aestivalis) Red, Swamp and Silk Bays (Persea spp.); perhaps prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum), Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), Sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana), and Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora).”


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