Last week, while gathering limerock for the waterfolly, I found giant swallowtail larvae pretending to be bird droppings.
They were in the tractor shoved piles of rock and log that my friend had created when he carved out a small sunny clearing in his dense swampy piece of land.
The caterpillars were on the small green shrub at the end of the log ... not the fern. Pretty snaky location and I think that is why I noticed the caterpillars ... I go slow and look carefully when I expect to encounter snakes of unknown disposition.
Perfect moccasin habitat ... there's a pond about 20 feet away.
Poop mimicry or alien being from beyond our solar system?
Profile shot. Shhhh ... don't tell him he looks like sh*#!
This one is still poopy looking, but the appearance changes as they mature.
Later, the head is more of a serpent mimic ... instead of disgusting avian predators, the caterpillars attempt to trigger an avoidance response just as I do when I hang rubber snakes in my blueberry bushes.
These pics were taken at my friend's property, but coincidentally, when I got home, I found the same type of caterpillar munching on my baby Satsuma citrus tree. The PFHQ swallowtail larvae are more advanced in age and are already sporting a serpenty head.
At least one of them is going in to school with me Friday as the larval humans (7th graders) and I are studying Arthropods.
They'll love these caterpillars.
Anything involving poop is highly fascinating to them.