Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Sliming Caterpillars

Black Swallowtail

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar Bares Its Osmeterium

Caterpillars of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly, Papilio polxenes, do not have urticating hairs, but they do have eversible glands (osmeteria) that produce noxious chemicals including butyric acid. Butyric acid is a toxin and an irritant that has a deterrent effect on ants and other potential predators. When disturbed or handled, these caterpillars will evert bright orange glands from behind the head and “slime” the source of disturbance.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is a retired Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, Biomaterials, by jjneal, Caterpillar Blogging, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Sliming Caterpillars

  1. Pingback: Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Sliming Caterpillars | Living With Insects Blog

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