Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar
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Like their butterfly form, Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars have a unique look.
Mature caterpillars, like the one pictured above, have red spikes protruding from a black body topped by a pair of horns. Younger caterpillars have a red body and red spikes.
The caterpillars feed on the leaves of the highly toxic plants in the Aristolochia genus called dutchman's pipe. The toxic diet makes the caterpillars poisonous and the red on their bodies serves as a warning to hungry birds.
© 2009. Patricia A. Michaels.