At the Garden: Eastern Swallowtail Caterpillars

We will begin featuring educational information about wildlife or plant life spotted at the garden on our Facebook and Website. Join us each week for At the Garden to learn more about what you might see while visiting Cherry Creek Community Garden. If you have a photo and/or information to share or spot something in the garden you may have a question about, please send your information to alisa.mm @ gmail.com.

This week, we feature the Eastern Swallowtail caterpillar. If you visit our herb spiral in front of the main garden gate, take a look at the dill and see if you can spot these caterpillars.

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Eastern Swallowtail Caterpillars

They love dill, but also host on fennel, parsley, carrot, celery, and citrus. While they are voracious eaters of dill, don’t worry, we have plenty at the garden to share with these guests. For the curious onlookers, if you gently touch these caterpillars, they will show you their yellow-orange tentacles that were previously hidden from view.

Be sure to look for the Eastern Swallowtail butterflies. They are large, beautiful black butterflies with cream dots across their wings and blue and orange dots at the base of their wings. Hopefully we can capture a photo of an Eastern Swallowtail butterfly at the garden to show you what our caterpillars have become.

If you see similar-looking caterpillars on milkweed, you have probably spotted a Monarch caterpillar, which looks very similar to the Eastern Swallowtail.

Photo credit: Alisa Miller

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