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.
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.
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.
These caterpillars do have a cool defense mechanism to prevent attacks from their predators. When threatened, they release an orange gland.
They look like antena but in reality, they are just gooey finger-like projections that fly in and out of their heads.
This gland releases foul-smelling and bad-tasting chemicals, which drive away predators.
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!