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