This guy is eating my parsley. I’m guessing swallowtail? I have plenty of parsley so I’m not concerned, just want to know what I can do to protect it from predators? (Westerville, Ohio)
Dear fellow Westervillian (lived there for 12yrs ) your caterpillar will turn into a Black swallowtail butterfly as you thought.
This caterpillar feeds primarily on plants of the carrot family and some in the Rue Family . It is usually found on Dill, Parsley, Fennel, Carrot, and Rue in gardens, and Queen-Anne’s-Lace, Poison Hemlock, and Lovage in the wild. (Monarchs only feed on milkweed plants).
The main reason birds do not bother this caterpillar is because it will stick out smelly orange “horns” to prevent predators or us from picking them up. It is possible for caterpillars to be parasitized by flies and wasps, however I have not seen too many of this species affected like that.
It overwinters as a pupa/chrysalis, so once these have finished eating they will be spending the winter in your garden on the plants they attach to.
The adult butterfly is black with yellow spots for the male and yellow with blue spots for the female. They are a common garden butterfly. They are found in eastern North America, also southwestern United States, and south to northern South America.