Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

Subject: What is this
Location: Ohio
July 16, 2016 5:14 am
This was found in a garden in eastern Ohio. I’m curious as to what it is.
Signature: Ron

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar
Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Ron,
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?

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