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Zebra Swallowtail Caterpillar Eurytides marcellus

 

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Zebra Swallowtail caterpillars
credit: Megan McCarty

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Family: Papilionidae, Swallowtails view all from this family



Description The Zebra Swallowtail caterpillars are cannibalistic, females lay their eggs singly on pawpaw leaves or on the tree trunks. The round egg is pale green, later turning an orange-brown color. Young caterpillars are black with lighter colored transverse stripes. Older larvae have two color forms. The more common form is green with yellow and white transverse stripes; the rarer form is black and banded with white and orange. In both forms, between the swollen thorax and the abdomen, there is a yellow, black, and bluish-white band. The larva has a yellow, foul-smelling, forked gland called an osmeterium which it will use to deter predators, especially spiders and ants. The chrysalis is either green or brown, and is more compact compared to chrysalids in the genus Papilio. Three small horns project from the head and thorax. The chrysalis hibernates in areas of its range with cold winters.


Dimensions Caterpillar, to 2 1/8" (54 mm).


Habitat Forests & woodlands, Freshwater swamps, marshes & bogs, Meadows & fields, Scrub, shrub & brushlands.


Range Florida, Plains, Eastern Canada, Mid-Atlantic, New England, Great Lakes, Texas.


 

 

 

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