My first "cohort" of caterpillars now have eyespots! This cohort is now down to 7 individuals, down from about 9 eggs laid. I'm supprized that the eyespots showed up this early becasue the caterpillars are still very small (i.e., roughly 1-1.5 cm long) and I dont think they have reached the 5th larval instar. All the caterpillars have turned from brown to green now, but do still have the white "saddle". Here are 2 views of what they look like now:

Many Papilio caterpillars weave silk pads on the leaves that they rest on. Of course caterpillars are insects which means they only have 6 legs, but anyone who has looked closely at a caterpillar might have counted more. These addional legs (after the first 6 legs on the thorax) are called "prolegs". On the prolegs these caterpillars have what are called "crotchets" - little hooks that grasp these silk threads in their silk pads. This gives them security from being knocked off with heavy winds or rain.

There is no question that these guys are incredibly cryptic now. Can you see the 2 caterpillars in the photos below?


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