5 days ago
Polydamus swallowtail larvae (caterpillars), from oldest to youngest. You can see the group of eggs in the third picture, not yet hatched. We have at least two of these clusters. I'm so happy to be hosting more native arthropods in our garden, however, I am conflicted about this particular host plant. It is "elegant Dutchman's pipe" (aka "calico flower"), and it is not native to Central FL. I did not plant it and was weeding it out for months before realizing that it is a host plant for Polydamus swallowtail caterpillars. I let it grow before learning that it is also a death trap for pipevine swallowtail caterpillars (a species related to the Polydamus). Thankfully, I haven't seen too many pipevine swallowtail butterflies around, and their range is mostly north of here. Still, I will be looking to phase out this vine regardless and replace it with another Polydamus swallowtail host plant--one that is native to Central FL.