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The right stuff for cats...

Anise swallowtail caterpillars, like all other caterpillars, are somewhat picky eaters. They will largely ignore mashed potatoes, soyburgers, filet mignon, and chocolate (or strawberry) milkshakes. They also do not do "low-carb". Good heavens.

They will very much appreciate, however, being placed on any of the following still-living (lush & green) plants as long as these plants have not been sprayed with any pesticide, either natural or artificial: anise, fennel, dill, parsley, carrot, parsnip, Queen Anne's lace, seaside angelica, yampah, and citrus trees.Citrus trees?! So it is claimed.

Our experience is mainly with fennel, since it grows around here like a weed [actually, most in these parts consider it to be BE a weed]. We can report first-hand that caterpillars are happy to consume nearly every part of the fennel plant, although we have not offered them mature seed heads. They will happily munch on tender green shoots, ordinary green "leaves", the yellow flowers (not clear if they eat the pollen grains as well---they probably do), and will even gnaw away on sizeable stems if the preceding more delectable parts have been used up.

These critters are fairly sloppy eaters, as they manage to drop chopped pieces of greenery as well as yellow flower bits if they are eating flowers. These pieces may result from caterpillar laziness--instead of passing a leaf or stem past the pseudopodia until the end is reached, they may just chomp the leaf or flower into two pieces and start feeding on the chomped end of what they are clinging to; the other piece is discarded and falls, adding to the pile of fennel litter.

The following label (enlarged here 17-fold for human readability) was recently discovered on a towering fennel plant deep in Caterpillar Territory: