One reader of ours sent us a couple of pictures of a caterpillar that she found in her yard. She said that when she got close to the caterpillar, it raised up its body and puckered up its lips like a fish. After taking a good look at her pictures, we have decided that this cute, little guy is the Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar.
Here is the picture:
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The Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar is in the Papilio glaucus family and they are native to North America. The younger caterpillars are usually brown and white in color and as they age, some of them turn bright green. When the Swallowtail becomes a butterfly, it is one of the most commonly seen and known butterflies. The males are yellow with black stripes and the females are yellow with brown stripes.
These caterpillars have eyespots on their bodies. These eyespots are used for protection. The eyespots make the caterpillar resemble a snake and this keeps many predators away from them.
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Tiger Swallowtails grow to be about 2.2 inches as a caterpillar. The caterpillar feeds on quite a few different plants. Some of their favorite plants are tulip trees, magnolias, and cherry trees. They also like aspens and willows.
Our reader has found a Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar. These caterpillars turn into some of the most beautiful and colorful butterflies in the world. She can expect to have a yard filled with these butterflies in a few weeks.