University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Mystery Bug Answers

MysteryPicture #6

Mystery Picture #6

(Mystery Picture #6)

NOVICE: The Black Swallowtail

The Black Swallowtail, Papillio polyxenes, is a common butterfly in Kentucky. In fact, it can be found in the eastern half of the United States. The butterfly is primarily black with yellow, orange and blue markings. It likes open spaces such as fields, gardens and marshes. The black swallowtail caterpillar is green with black bands around each segment. There are rows of orange dots just in front of the black bands. The caterpillar feeds on carrot, wild carrot, Queen Anne's lace, parsley, dill, celery and several wild species of plants.

If you would like to learn more about butterflies, see ENTFACT 006 - How to Make Butterfly Gardens .

EXPERT: Gypsy Moth Caterpillar

The gypsy moth caterpillar, Lymantria dispar (Linnaeus), is currently one of the most economically important pests of hardwood trees in the Eastern United States. The gypsy moth is not native to the United States. It was introduced in 1869 by a French scientist in Massachusetts who hoped to raise the moths for silk production. Unfortunately, a few escaped. The caterpillars prefer oak as a host but will feed on on almost any tree or shrub.

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