An amazing visitor to our garden

An unusual  caterpillar caught my eye in our garden yesterday. It was on our verbascum and had stripped quite a bit of the flower.

An unusual caterpillar

I put a description into google and it soon showed our caterpillar. We had expected it to be a large moth but were amazed to find that it is an Eastern black swallow tail. The amazing thing is that it is found in Mexico, Central America and South America. How on earth did it get here!

The adult wing span is between seven and eight and a half centimetres. The wings are black with two rows of yellow spots. Between the spots is a powdery, iridescent, blue.

Before I had looked it up my husband had picked it up and put it over our back fence in the strip of woodland because it was stripping our verbascum. Once I had looked it up he regretted not keeping it.

It is a mystery how it got here and I can only imagine that our unusually warm weather has helped it to survive. It is protected from predators by it’s bright colour which warns that it is toxic so hopefully it will survive to become a butterfly.

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8 Responses to An amazing visitor to our garden

  1. marion.pharo says:

    Very nice, but best not to keep it in your garden, It is amazing just how much they can eat.

    • Carol says:

      You are right. I think Richard was thinking more of keeping it in a box but it probably wouldn’t have worked out anyway.

  2. Jenny says:

    I had one of these on figwort in my garden last year and thought it was a mullein moth caterpillar

    • Carol says:

      I put the description into google and the photo that came up was identical and there were many articles with photos so I am sure it’s accurate. I will look up mullein moth caterpillar as I have never heard of it.

      • Carol says:

        I had to look at both caterpillars and draw the spot patterns and then go back to my photo. I now think you are right as the spots are more uneven. Well done for identifying it.

    • Carol says:

      I have just looked it up and now I am not sure. They look so similar that it could be either, you could be right. I still don’t know how it got here though.

    • Carol says:

      I should have researched before replying really and some of my comments seemed to have come out in the wrong order. I definitely that you are right.

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