#BenInNature is on vacation!

#BenInNature is on vacation!

#BenInNature is on vacation! While he's out, we're going to look back at the first daily nature updates from way back in March! The following post was originally published March 24, 2020.

The eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus) is one of the most recognizable butterflies in the eastern U.S. They can be spotted from spring through fall, during which time they can produce as many as three broods. While the adults may be beautiful to witness, the young caterpillars don't exactly inspire poetry; for their first few instars (phases between molts in the development of insect larva) they resemble bird droppings, which helps them avoid the attention of predators. As the caterpillars grow larger, they develop fake eye spots that ward off predators. Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars also possess an interesting organ called an "osmeterium." This organ looks a bit like fleshy orange antennae, and it's normally hidden inside the caterpillar's body. However, when threatened, the caterpillar will push out its osmeterium, which emits foul-smelling organic compounds that send a lot of critters running. #BenInNature

About #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. While he is working from home, Administrator of Science Ben Williams is venturing outdoors each day to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world.

map of Virginia and surrounding areas

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