Spicebush Swallowtail preparing for winter

October 2, 2012 John Bugs

The vibrant orange caterpillar from the last post has been identified thanks to the help of the /whatisthisbug/ subreddit.  He goes by the name Papilio troilus – or more commonly, the spicebush swallowtail.

About a week after spotting the first one, I saw another walking around in a similar spot on the driveway.  Is it the same guy?  Possibly!  Although they take on a bright orange color, the final stage before going in to the cocoon involves turning a dark green or brown (depending on the time of year.)

If it were spring, the caterpillar would be turning the color of the leaves right now.  But since winter is coming, he’s preparing with a brown color that will blend in well during the colder months.

The butterfly these guys turn in to is absolutely beautiful, so here’s to hoping I can snag a picture of one or two in a few weeks!

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