Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) - Life Cycle 2010
Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo

 

 

May 16th. Tiger Swallowtails have two broods per year in Connecticut.  This male is of the spring brood and has emerged from a chrysalis that was formed in 2009 and overwintered.

 

 

 

 

 

August 3rd.  This female is of the summer brood and matured from a caterpillar born from the egg of a spring brood female.  (Females have more blue scales on the upper side of the hind wings.)

 

 

July 27th.  Another summer brood butterfly of indeterminate sex.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 20th.  While collecting cherry branches to feed Saturniid caterpillars, I noticed this bird poop and was about to flick it off...

 

 

...when I realized it was a young Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar.

 

 

It was resting vertically on a bed of silk which it had spun on the upper surface of a cherry leaf, in plain sight  Not only does the caterpillar look like a bird poop, but it rests just where a bird poop might be expected to land.

 

 

July 24th.  The caterpillar has grown some and turned somewhat greenish, though until this time I had never seen it off it's silken bed.

 

 

Its false eye markings are now apparent.  (Perhaps it has molted, but I found no sign of a cast skin.)

 

 

 

 

 

July 27th.  Still greener, and larger of course, with just the vestiges of the pale "saddle" marking at the base of the abdomen.

 

 

Once I noticed the caterpiller off its silk bed at 5:45 PM; it was back on it by 7:15 PM, and still on it at 10:30 PM when I went to bed.  I happened to be up at 3:30 and caught it hoofing it back to its bed - either coincidence or because I turned on the light.  Haven't seen it roaming since.

 

 

My best guess is that it spends a lot of time resting, occasionally leaving its bed to feed, but minimizing its time on a chewed leaf where a bird might be more likely to spot it.

 

 

August 5th. The saddle marking is now absent.

 

 

And it has the ability to furrow its brow.  (A side-effect of raising its head.)

 

 

 

 

 

August 6th. Finally a view with the head extended.  At rest, its tucked under the thorax.