Life and Times of a Snake Mimic: Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillars

Spicebush swallowtails are incredibly beautiful as both caterpillars and butterflies. The caterpillars begin as bird poop mimics and then turn into snake mimics as they get bigger. They feed exclusively on spicebush and sassafras. A full grown, happy caterpillar can eat 2-3 large (hand sized or bigger) leaves per day. As they live for two weeks, imagine that one caterpillar can defoliate an entire plant!

The adult butterflies have beautiful wing patterns both on the top and bottom and can be quite large.

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