The Parsley Caterpillar

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So last week as I was walking around our house, my mom pointed out her parsley plant. Riddled all over where these small, green insects. Meet the parsley caterpillar.

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Their actual name is the black swallowtail caterpillar. Before they become butterflies, they grow from the small black ‘instar stage’ to the pictured ‘third instar’ and fully grown caterpillar stages.

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They then move on to cocooning themselves and eventually become the black swallowtail butterfly. Unfortunately, I think some of their predators (spiders, birds and other bugs) got to them before they could cocoon themselves.

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These caterpillars do have a cool defense mechanism to prevent attacks from their predators. When threatened, they release an orange gland.

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They look like antena but in reality, they are just gooey finger-like projections that fly in and out of their heads.

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This gland releases foul-smelling and bad-tasting chemicals, which drive away predators.

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How cool is that? I definitely jumped back when I first saw the glands fly out. I just decided to spend an hour sitting around the pot taking photos of them. Hope you enjoy!

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