The caterpillar stage of the Giant Swallowtail Butterfly. Yes people, that ‘thing’ that looked like bird droppings will grow up to be this beautiful butterfly. You can see more pictures of beautiful butterflies and moths by clicking here.
These butterflies have a large range of distribution. The Giant Swallowtail tends to feed on the new leaves of citrus trees. You will find the females flying around citrus trees laying their eggs on new tasty leaves (tasty to the caterpillars). The Giant Swallowtail is cool because of their defense mechanisms as caterpillars. As a caterpillar you are vulnerable to predation by birds. So what is a slow moving caterpillar to do? Well, there are 2 things this little critter does to stay alive. First, they have these structures near their head called osmeterium. This organ emerges when the caterpillar is harassed and sprays a foul smelling substance. It is pretty bad. I did harass them to get a whiff. I swear I stopped teasing it after that.
The second defense these critters use is camouflage. What is less appetizing than bird droppings? Would you want to eat bird droppings if you were a bird? I don’t think so. What a defense huh. Smart little critters. Once again I have shown you how smart insects are. So much for being wordless on Wordless Wednesday. Too much exciting stuff to keep me quiet.