Subject: What is this
July 16, 2016 5:14 am
This was found in a garden in eastern Ohio. I’m curious as to what it is.
This is the Caterpillar of a Spicebush Swallowtail, and it is widely accepted that the caterpillar has evolved so that the false eyespots on the caterpillar act as a form of protective mimicry by potentially fooling predators into thinking that their prey might actually be a larger and potentially threatening predator itself. 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).” Do you have any of those plants in your garden?