Spicebush and Palamedes Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillars are Very Similar

Palamedes and Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars are very similar. How can we tell them apart?

Palamedes Swallowtail butterfly young caterpillar is white and brown.

Palamedes Swallowtail butterfly
young caterpillar is
white and brown.
NO brown is on its rump.

Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly young caterpillar is white and brown.

Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly
young caterpillar is
white and brown.
Note the brown on its rump.

Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar is green with eyespots.  Note the second large yellow set of eyespots behind the first large set of eyespots.

Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly
caterpillar is green with eyespots.
Note the second large yellow
set of eyespots behind the
first large set of eyespots.

Palamedes Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars are green with eyespots.  Note ONE set of large eyespots.

Palamedes Swallowtail butterfly
caterpillars are green with
eyespots. Note ONE
set of large eyespots.

Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar in a curled leaf

Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly
caterpillar in a curled leaf

Palamedes Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar in a curled leaf

Palamedes Swallowtail butterfly
caterpillar in a curled leaf

These two species can be very confusing!

Young Spicebush Swallowtail and Palamedes Swallowtail brown and white caterpillars are very similar. To add to the confusion, both use several of the same host plants.

It is easy to tell the difference between the two caterpillars.

Although young brown and white caterpillars are similar, Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars have a brown patch on their rumps.

Although older green caterpillars are also similar, Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars have a second set of large eyespots. The second set is simply two large yellow spots behind the first set of eyespots.

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