Anise Swallowtail Caterpillars

they are probably swallowtail caterpillars
Subject: Monarch caterpillars on Dill plants
May 9, 2014 12:34 pm
I have just seen approximately 10 of what I believe to be monarch caterpillars on my Dill plants. This surprises me as I have not planted milkweed as of yet and have not noticed any growing nearby. I was wondering if there are other caterpillars that resemble monarchs or if it is common for monarchs to feed on other plants than milkweed.
Signature: Kristy

they are probably swallowtail caterpillars

Thank you so much for getting back to me. I looked at some pictures of swallowtail caterpillars and I don’t think that is what they are. I have attached a photo of the caterpillars in question. If you can let me know what you think?
Subject: Re: Comment/Question: Monarch caterpillars on Dill plants

Swallowtail Caterpillars
Anise Swallowtail Caterpillars

Hi Kristy,
These are definitely Swallowtail Caterpillars.  You did not provide a location.  Our first guess is that you live in the in the eastern half of the country and that these are Black Swallowtail Caterpillars, but the very similar looking Anise Swallowtail Caterpillars can be found in western states.  Both will feed on dill, carrots and parsley, as well as other related plants.  The markings and coloration of both species change as they grow and molt, and very young caterpillars of both species look more like bird droppings.  Please provide a location for your sighting.

Hi Daniel,
Thanks again. I live in Nevada City, California in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. I looked at the photos of the Anise Swallowtail. I also looked at the plant again and there are also early instars. I so appreciate your help and website. I love to identify the insects present in my garden and was unaware of the Anise Swallowtail. Now I know.
Thank you,

Thanks for the location confirmation.

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