Thumbs up, thumbs down
I ran into this beautiful caterpillar in the garden yesterday. I was all excited thinking it might be a monarch, though I knew it was on the wrong greenery for such. However, when I expressed my excitement and invited my husband to come and admire the caterpillar, he turned up his nose, shook his head and said, "Get it outa there! I wouldn't trust any caterpillar!"
Unfortunately this put me in remembrance of my initial enthusiasm over the beauty of the Japanese Beetles. What was then so awe-inspiring had quickly become the bane of my garden existence. Or of my garden's existence. So I plucked the branch harboring the caterpillar and placed it in my weed bucket.
The caterpillar's life hung in the balance as I researched its pedigree and attitude. Does it decimate garden plants? Does it sting? Who is it, anyway!!??
After a time of research and consultation, we all agreed it is a Black Swallowtail caterpillar, which makes a whole heck-of-a-lot-of sense, considering I've seen so many Black Swallowtail butterflies around lately. Like, duh.
But I wasn't so far off with my original ID: these caterpillars do like to mimic monarchs so that potential predators think they are poisonous and will leave them alone. They don't sting, but "sometimes they can eat a lot of carrot greens."
So, thumbs up? Thumbs down?
I have rescued him from the weed bucket and placed him back near the carrot tops. I can't believe he survived the ordeal. He can have all the carrot tops he wants; he earned them.
And I can hardly wait until I see him again in his next life form. Turns out, beauty isn't always deceitful.
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