One must really keep the eyes peeled and rolling in a fine frenzy. Look out! Down on the sidewalk, a little under 1.5″ long, easily mistaken for a turd or cigarillo butt. But, actually, it’s the larva of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), that gloriously large yellow and black butterfly. Early instars, or stages, of this caterpillar look like bird droppings (that old camouflage trick!); middle ones are vivid lime green, with the false eye spots; the last before pupation will look like this. Tuliptree, magnolia, and black cherry are among the food plants for this species; this was next to a Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera), which is an unusual street tree here. Like all caterpillars, it is a machine for eating, powering up for the biochemical alchemy of metamorphosis. Shazam! I mean, shit into gold, the alchemical dream right here.
amphibians Arizona bees beetles birding birds Black Rock Forest books Britain Bronx Brooklyn Brooklyn Botanic Garden Brooklyn Bridge Park Bush Terminal butterflies caterpillars Central Park cicadas Climate crabs Croton Point damselflies Dartmoor Dead Horse Bay dragonflies elm fish flowers Floyd Bennett Field Fort Tilden Four Sparrow Marsh frogs fungus galls Gastropoda Geology Gowanus Great Swamp Green-Wood honey bees horseshoe crab Hudson Iceland insects invertebrates Inwood Jamaica Bay ladybugs Maine mammals Marine Park mollusca Montreal moths mushrooms Nantucket New York Botanical Garden Odonata owls plants Plumb Beach Prospect Park reptiles shells snails spiders St. John Staten Island Sunset Park Texas Thoreau trees turtles Virgin Gorda wasps
This work by Matthew Wills is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.