Friday, August 17, 2007

Bird poo turned out to be an Ollie (Kukla, Fran & Ollie) caterpillar

Click on photos to enlarge.

Don't you think it looks rather cute!




Since I'm on a bug thread, I might as well add another. I was watering some plants using the garden hose and sort of dreaming off in this mindless activity when I saw what looked like bird poo on a leaf of the Sweet Bay Magnolia. Closer inspection revealed a web like structure under the poop. After myopically peering at the poo and deciding that it was a caterpillar I ran into the house to get the camera for the umpteenth time.

After I got to see the photos enlarged, it was indeed a caterpillar. The actual size of the caterpillar is about 1/2 inch long. I couldn't tell which was the front of the worm and I initially thought the fatter end was the rear but you can clearly make out the eyes on the big end. I don't have a clue what kind of moth or butterfly it will turn out to be. I also don't know why it set itself in such an exposed position. I wonder if it's getting ready to pupate? Seems as though any hungry bird could easily pick it off.

After doing a short search it may be in the Papilio family of butterflies. See this site for the Spicebush butterfly caterpillar, Papilio troilus which it resembles but... not quite. Funny because I found a Spicebush caterpillar last year and it was green with big false eye patches and huge about 2 1/2 - 3" long. It didn't look anything like the one on the above website.

8 Comments:

Blogger DeeMom said...

KI, how KEWL!

5:28 AM  
Blogger Digital Flower Pictures said...

You never know what you are going to find out there.

3:30 AM  
Blogger Entangled said...

Neat! Maybe a tiger swallowtail, early instar? There's a discussion on bugguide that's very similar. The last comment there has a link to another discussion which talks about the differences between spicebush and tiger.

5:33 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Neat! Ain't nature grand! Love the shot where your hand is holding the leave the catipillar is on..

1:28 PM  
Blogger Christian Julian said...

Amazing photos

7:25 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Deemom,
It was an interesting surprise to find the bird dropping a caterpillar instead.

Hi Chris,
Indeed, it seems the more you look the more you find.

Entangled, thanks for the interesting link. It looks as if the last photo on the page is the same caterpillar I photographed. I was ignorant of instars until I looked it up. The caterpillar I photographed must be a very early instar because it was so small and I imagine would have to grow quite a bit to become a spicebush swallowtail butterfly.

Catherine,
I took a shot with my fingers showing to show just how small the caterpillar was and I needed to bend the leaf down anyway to expose it more. Thanks for stopping by.

Christian Julian,
Thanks. I was gone for a weeks and didn't remember to look for the caterpillar but will do so and post an update if it is still there. Thanks for the comment.

5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ollie, huh? If you want to compare the two beasts, check out my site:

http://kukla.tv

Mark

7:48 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

Hi Burr,
Well, I thought the big long snout looked sort of like Ollie though sans snaggle tooth and hairy ruff.

Great nostalgic site BTW. Thanks for the comment and link.

5:21 PM  

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