From Xplor for Kids
July 2019 Issue

What Is It?

  • As a larva, I cling to the trees ...
  • ...with bristles at the ends of my “toes.”
  • I look like bird poop when young.
  • Then become a great beauty when grown.

Giant swallowtail caterpillars look like blobs of bird poop. This helps them avoid predators. The caterpillar body appears to have many legs, but only the three pairs near the head are true legs. The rest look like toes but are bristly prolegs. These help the caterpillar cling to the branches of host trees like prickly ash. Adult giant swallowtails are Missouri’s largest butterflies, with a wingspan of 3 to 5 inches. Learn more at

Also in this issue

Raccoon In a Trash Can

Interview With a Trash Panda

Xplor’s fearless reporter braves the forest after dark to chat with Missouri’s most mysterious masked mammal.

Lichen On The Rocks

Life on the Rocks

It takes special superpowers to survive on Missouri’s mini deserts.

And More...

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This Issue's Staff:

Bonnie Chasteen
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Angie Daly Morfeld
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White

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