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Papilio canadensis

 

I was very excited to find this larva of Papilio canadensis¬†(Canada Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly) in late August last year preparing to form a chrysalis thinking I could photo its progression day-by-day. Maybe I might even see it emerge as a butterfly the following spring. As the days wore on there was no change to the larva. After two weeks I began to think something was wrong here. Shortly after that it was gone from the leaf. Whether it died and fell off or was¬†eaten I don’t know.

This caterpillar is on an aspen leaf one of the species’ larval host plants. Other preferred larval foods are willow, cherry, and ash. The eye-spots on the larva’s thoracic segments presumably deter some predators. Interestingly, the young larva resemble bird droppings.