Photograph by Donald W. Hall, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida. 1987. Red bay, Persea borbonia (L.) Spreng. If there is one critter in the animal kingdom that stakes claim as being the master of disguise, it's the spicebush swallowtail caterpillar. Biosynthesis of defensive secretions in, Sperling FAH. a) Hyla cinerea (Schneider). After molting to the fourth instar, the caterpillar becomes green. Systematics of the. Spicebussh butterflies do very well indoors and are easy to farm. Third instar spicebush swallowtail, Papilio troilus L., larva. After your swallowtail caterpillar has formed a chrysalis in a lunch sack, "gizmo", or other suitable area, attach your pupa to a container laced with paper towel; so that it has sufficient room to emerge and pump out its wings. Garden City, NJ. Tyler HA. Tucked in a leaf shelter during the day, these caterpillars often go undiscovered unless you know how to find them. 5th Instar Green: Spicebush swallowtail caterpillars, bright green with numerous blue spots, have secondary fake eyespots that are yellow. 2003). Spicebush Swallowtail larva go through three color stages as they develop.In their first moltings they are brown and white and look like bird droppings. The Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar is one of the best mimics known. Minno and Minno (1999) have extensive lists of both native and exotic nectar plants for butterflies. Sassafras growing in more open habitats tends to more pubescent. The caterpillar, in its early stages, resembles a bird dropping (brown caterpillar in image to left) and is found exposed during the day on the upper side of the leaves. the American Horticultural Society’s web site, the Florida Wildflowers Growers Cooperative, A Host-Parasite Catalog of North American Tachinidae (Diptera), Temperature determines diapause termination in, A new North American swallowtail butterfly: Description of a relict subspecies of, Catalog of Hymenoptera in America North of Mexico. The underside of the caterpillar is pinkish-brown, and each abdominal segment is ringed by six blue spots outlined in black. 2005. Classification of the Papilionidae (Lepidoptera): A phylogenetic approach. The Two-Tailed’s fifth instar stage is its final one. After molting to the 4th instar, the caterpillar turns green. 2005, Gatrelle 2000, Warren et al. 1995. In addition to the generalist predators that prey on Lepidoptera larvae, there are at least two tachinid flies (Compsilura concinnata [Meigen] and Lespesia frenchii [Williston]) (Arnaud 1978, p. 659) and one ichneumonid wasp (Trogus pennator [Fabricius]) (Krombein et al. “The spicebush caterpillar goes from bird droppings to snake eyes! Doubleday. Figure 7. Palo Alto, California. The swollen thorax has two black, yellow, and blue eyespots. 345 pp. The subgenus name Pterourus is from the Greek roots “ptero” for wing and “ura” for tail (Borror 1960). Postal Service’s series of stamps for large greeting cards that require additional postage (Figure 1). Larvae usually hide in the leaf shelters during the daytime and to molt where birds and other predators are unlikely to see them. The caterpillars also have special disguises just in case they get seen: the early instars are bird-dropping mimics, like many other swallowtail species. Leaf shelter made by first instar spicebush swallowtail, Papilio troilus L., larva on red bay (Persea borbonia [L.] Spreng). Figure 9. Photo: … The underside of newly molted fifth instar larvae is pale green but later turns to burgundy or pinkish-brown (Figure 8). Figure 5. The critical photoperiod for induction of diapause in spicebush swallowtails is dependent on latitude. Hancock DL. Distribution maps for the three species can be found at the Plants National Database. Ecology 72: 1428-1435. Caterpillars will need a food source when they arrive. Stanford, California. Once they have grown sufficiently and stored enough leaf energy to pupate they shed one last skin and what emerges is a chrysalis in which the transformation to a butterfly is completed. Spicebush swallowtail, Papilio troilus L., larva spinning silk mat to curl leaf into large shelter on camphortree, Cinnamomum camphora (L.) J. Presl. Linnaeus grouped some swallowtails and other butterflies under the genus name Papilio and used the names of heroes from the Trojan War as specific epithets (Tyler 1975). Larval host plants: Spicebush swallowtail larvae are thought to feed only on plants belonging to the family Lauraceae (Minno et al. Adults: The wingspread range is 92-124 mm (3.83-4.78 in) (Opler and Malikul 1998). Foodplants and evolution within, Seligman IM, Doy FA. Eisner T, Meinwald YC. They do this four or five times, and each new skin is called an ‘instar.’. Spiders, insect predators such as dragonflies and robber flies, and especially birds, will eat swallowtail butterfly adults and larvae. Scientific Publishers. 633 pp. Above and lower left © Judy Gallagher; Meadowood Farm SRMA, Mason Neck, Virginia; September 2014 (top) and May 2013, Lower center © Kim Hosen; suburban back yard, Woodbridge, VA; September 2008, Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar 886 pp. The green fifth instars with their swollen thoraxes and eyespots with bulging “pupils” (Figure 8) are believed to mimic either green snakes, tree frogs (Hyla spp.) Map prepared by Donald W. Hall, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida. Photograph by Donald W. Hall, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida. 1979) listed as parasitoids of spicebush swallowtails. Figure 18. It is relatively common in natural areas and flower gardens throughout the eastern and parts of the mid-western United States. Young trees are usually selected and eggs are typically laid from two to five meters above the ground. Caterpillar growth stages are called instars. Our butterfly list was not as impressive as the bird list. Big hint on what the Spicebush Swallowtail needs: Spicebush! London. (Rosaceae), Zanthoxylum spp. Its life cycle was beautifully illustrated during the 18th century by John Abbot (Smith 1797) (Figure 1). I’ve been pondering why the pupae of spicebush swallowtail butterfly are dimorphic in color, some green and others brown. Soon after hatching, larvae eat the egg shells (Figure 12), and the residual yolk serves as their first meal (Imms 1957). The percentages did not vary significantly between females from Michigan and those from Florida. undated, Scott 1986, Tyler 1975) of feeding on other hosts Magnolia and Liriodendron (Magnoliaceae), Prunus spp. The color (green or brown) of non-diapausing pupae is environmentally controlled (Hazel 1995, West and Hazel 1985) by detection of the color of the pupation substrate by the stemmata (simple eyes of insect larvae) (Mellencamp et al. Later instars are smoother, and light green with some white areas and black spots. Based on laboratory feeding tests, Scriber et al. The caterpillar creates a silk strand that it uses to roll up the leaf. One dot on each side is below the yellow lateral line. Imms A.D. 1957. The eyespots have a large black “pupil” with a white "false reflection". Later, they transform themselves to mimic a snake with the help of their eyespots in the later instars. | #Mimicry #Butterflies They spin silk to tighten a leaf around itself, giving the caterpillar a safe place to hide during the day; they resume feeding at night. Comparative mating behavior and sexual selection in North American swallowtail butterflies. Although spicebush swallowtails employ extensive mimicry throughout their lifecycles, mimicking bird droppings and green snakes as caterpillars, and mimicking the poisonous pipevine swallowtail (Battus philenor) as adults, they suffer from extensive predation. The causes and evolution of phenotypic plasticity in pupal color in swallowtail butterflies. 1986. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 186(4): 365-512. To maximize butterfly populations in yards, both caterpillar hosts and nectar plants for adults should be planted. A male spicebush swallowtail was featured on the third butterfly stamp (issued January, 2013) in the U.S. Note bulging “pupils” of false eyespots. As a result of this combination gift, i.e., the plant and the eggs left by the butterfly, I now have photos, memories, and the five chrysalides destined to be released this coming summer. It was one of the first three instars of a spicebush swallowtail butterfly that feeds principally on sassafras and spicebush. He looks like bird poo for a reason, camouflage! The spicebush swallowtail is threatened throughout its range due to mortality of its caterpillar host plants from laurel wilt fungus (Raffaelea lauricola T.C. One dot on each side is beneath the lateral line. Naturegraph Publishers. 210 pp. Diapause pupae are brown. Persea species are sometimes confused with sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana Linnaeus) but can be differentiated by the presence on sweetbay of stipular scars that completely surround the stem. After molting to the 4 th instar, the caterpillar turns green. Later instars mimic snakes, with large eyespots b) Hyla squirella Bosc. The foliage of all of these plants is pleasingly aromatic when crushed - a characteristic that aids in differentiating them from similar plants in other families. The spicebush swallowtail is threatened throughout its range due to mortality of its caterpillar host plants from laurel wilt fungus (Raffaelea lauricola T.C. Oxford University Press. Minno MC, Minno M. 1999. The caterpillar tightens a leaf around itself for protection during the day and then feeds at night. Watch these Spicebush swallowtail butterfly hatch into caterpillars. Camphortree, Cinnamomum camphora (L.) J. Presl. 583 pp. The choice of which one(s) to plant is dependent on locality. Photos Photograph by William Barichivich, U.S. Geological Survey. Courtship flights are slow with the male hovering above the female (Cech and Tudor 2005). Pupation is usually near the ground on slender stems among leaves (West and Hazel 1996). 1994. (1991) reported that neonate Papilio troilus starved to death rather than initiating feeding on non-lauraceous hosts (including sweetbay, Magnolia virginiana L.; tuliptree, Liriodendron tulipifera L.; and common pricklyash, Zanthoxylum americanum Mill.). Last week I spotted a caterpillar that had the markings of a spicebush caterpillar, but the few of these I’ve seen, all in their last instars (larval stages), have been bright green, and this one was orangish brown. p. 212. Males emerge first (=protandry) (Deering et al. Fifth instar Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars are really fascinating! In early spring, we planted four spicebush shrubs specifically for the butterflies. There is a pair of large tan false eyespots lined with black on the metathorax. I was so confused to keep finding very very different images of the Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar- thanks for this great post detailing each of the instars and the differences between them! Larvae also have a smaller pair of tan spots dorsally on the first abdominal segment. After molting to the 4th instar (I believe there are 5 total instars in this species) the caterpillar turns green (large caterpillar). The larvae and frogs are similar in size and the brown spots on the first abdominal segment of the larvae resemble the brown tympana of the frogs. 1979. The Spicebush Swallowtail has to be one of the most spectacular caterpillars of any of the North American Lepidoptera. The white markings on the abdomens of these instars resemble the uric acid deposits in bird and lizard droppings making the resemblance even more striking. Right: egg shortly before hatching. pp. When the caterpillar is young, it looks a little like bird droppings, as do many other caterpillars in the Swallowtail family. Scriber JM, Deering MD, Francke LN, Wehling WF, Lederhouse RC. Photograph by Donald W. Hall, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida. The pipevine swallowtail, Battus philenor (L.), is one of our most beautiful swallowtails. Large leaf shelter made by late instar larva of the spicebush swallowtail, Papilio troilus L., on camphortree, Cinnamomum camphora (L.) J. Presl. Later instars have these really cool fake eyes that make them look like tiny fierce snakes. In the early stages (instars), Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars resemble a bird dropping. The caterpillars can die at any stage but most often at very young instars -- they just stop feeding, turn brown and turn into mush. 1994, Minno et al. The list of Lauraceae infected by the fu… Tucked in a leaf shelter during the day, these caterpillars often go undiscovered unless you know how to find them. Opler PA, Malikul V. 1998. The coloration of both caterpillars and adult butterflies works to warn away vertebrate predators. The bottom half of their bodies are a sort of pinkish color. Mimicry and Caterpillars Early larval instars are blackish green, bumpy, with black spots and resemble bird dropping. It is less common farther west from the Mississippi River. In the last instar the caterpillar is yellow and is about 2 3/16 inches long. The yellow prepupae are cryptic against the color of the leaf litter as they wander in search of pupation sites (Figure 25). 10/18/2004: Mimicry and Caterpillars . Expanses of blue-green scales drift across their black hindwings, and green chevrons outline lower wing edges. (2005) noted, the bulging pupils of the eyespots make the “eyes” appear to stare at you when viewed from any angle. They are bright green with numerous blue spots with thin black outlines. The spicebush swallowtail butterfly, Papilio troilus Linnaeus, is one of our most beautiful and interesting swallowtails. The caterpillar stage is for 16 to 20 days. 1993. Figure 16. Scanned image of U.S. postage stamp featuring male Papilio troilus L. Scriber JM. Princeton University Press. 1975. 192 pp. Chap. These eyespots are much smaller than those of the similar-looking spicebush swallowtail caterpillar. When viewed from a certain angle, they resemble a snake to ward off predators. The undersides of the hind wings have marginal pale green spots and also marginal and post-median rows of bright orange spots separated by black and blue patches (Figure 5). (2005) suggested the possibility that even the secretions of the two prongs of the same osmeterium may differ. Saplings 1-6 feet in height are most attractive to ovipositing females. 341 pp. Younger larvae (instars 1-4) are bird-dropping (or lizard-dropping) mimics (Figure 7). Early instar larva of the spicebush swallowtail, Papilio troilus L. Photograph by Donald W. Hall, Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida. It is a Tiger Swallowtail in its 'dark phase". Discover (and save!)
2020 spicebush swallowtail caterpillar instars