caterpillars? in Florida
We live in Orlando, Florida and my husband found these caterpillars (?) on our Key Lime Tree. Can you tell us what kind they are? They had amazing long red forked tongues. We are a crowd of bug lovers but we have never seen these and they made us a bit nervous with the long forked tongue. Thank you for any information.
These are Giant Swallowtail Caterpillars, Papilio cresphontes. It is widely accepted that they mimic bird droppings to avoid getting eaten. The red forked “tongue” is a scent organ knows as the Osmetrium. Giant Swallowtail Caterpillars are harmless and develop into beautiful butterflies..