Answer to the Monday Mystery

Well. This week’s Great Orange Thingy has aged like a fine cheddar until the weekend, so perhaps at long last it’s time to start blogging again and answer it.

When threatened, a swallowtail caterpillar everts an osmeterium.

Larvae of Papilionidae, the swallowtails, have an eversible structure behind the head that releases defensive chemicals (including isobutyric acid) when the animal is threatened. The odor is memorable, like rotting orange peels, and familiar to anyone who has reared these insects.

Points are awarded as follows: 8 to veteran mystery master JasonC for being the first to the structure & taxonomy, and points for chemistry are given to Morgan Jackson (1), Katherine (4), Enric Alonso de Medina (3), and Jonathan Nixon (2).

This brings us to our monthly winners for February. With 10 points each, we have a tie between Chris Grinter & Joe Wong. Congratulations, gentlemen. Email me for your loot!

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