Many gardeners with dreams of fresh pesto have found their beloved parsley plants stripped bare overnight, with leaves replaced by cheeky, chunky caterpillars. But the “Parsley Worm” is easily forgiven due to its lovely adult form and interesting life cycle.
Eggs are laid on host plants in the carrot family. Newly hatched caterpillars mimic bird droppings as their primary defense and immediately get busy eating. As they grow, they develop bands of green, blue, and yellow, although some caterpillars remain mostly black. They can make threat displays and emit chemical repellents.
When it’s time to pupate, caterpillars attach themselves to a stem and support themselves with a silken girdle. Pupae can be green or brown and look just like curled leaves. With luck, they’ll emerge as beautiful adult butterflies to continue the cycle.
This pin depicts an older caterpillar munching on flatleaf parsley leaves. Soft enamel + epoxy, double posted. Comes on a Bug Box kraft backer. Originally from our November 2022 Bug Box.