Mating Pipevine Swallowtails and Caterpillar

Mating Swallowtails
Dear Bugman,
Thought you might like this photo. Spring is definitely in the air – we have lots and lots of emerging Pipevine Swallowtails and they’re wasting no time! Took the photo 2 days ago. I’ve also attached some photos of the caterpillars that I took last year. There were so many of these hungry guys (and gals) munching on the pipevine bush that we could actually hear them eating – it was really cool! I also discovered that if you frighten or annoy them, they extend some type of “antennae” from the back of their heads – fascinating and beautiful critters.
Ann Ranlett
Nature Illustrations & Pet Portraits

Hi Ann,
Your photographs are always so awesome. Both your mating butterflies and the caterpillars are Pipevine Swallowtails, Battus philenor. The caterpillar is displaying its osmeterium, a horned retractable organ that gives off a foul odor. Many swallowtail caterpillars have this defense mechanism.

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