Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
from the July 21, 2008 Newsletter, after a visit to McLean County, Kentucky:
TIGER SWALLOWTAIL CATERPILLAR
Not all the interesting stuff last week occurred at Land Between the Lakes. At my Uncle Rock's house near Calhoun, Kentucky, one afternoon a plump, brownish caterpillar the size of a little finger came humping across the driveway's gravel. It's shown on a leaf above.
It was the caterpillar of a Tiger Swallowtail butterfly, PAPILIO GLAUCUS, and of course a marvelous thing about it was that those big "eyes" are just decorations meant to make the caterpillar look perilous to its predators. Caterpillars of this species right out of the egg are camouflaged as bird droppings. My impression is that later caterpillars with the eye markings are greenish, but caterpillar stages right before metamorphosing to the chrysalis stage are brownish.