Currently viewing the category: "butterfly caterpillars"
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Subject: Cattapiller
Location: Palm Springs California
March 24, 2015 6:20 pm
It looks like a larvae of a moth
Signature: Zeus

Orange Dog

Orange Dog

Hi Zeus,
Did you find this caterpillar feeding on the leaves of a citrus tree?  It looks like an Orange Dog, the caterpillar of a Giant Swallowtail butterfly.

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Subject: Judean Swallowtails
Location: Judean Desert, Israel
March 22, 2015 1:49 am
Hi Bugman,
On my hiking trip last week in the Judean Desert, I noticed a bunch of these colorful caterpillars on one specific bush. Didn’t see them anywhere else in the area.
Some research identified them as common yellow swallowtails, Papilio machaon.
Enjoy!
Signature: Ben from Israel

Yellow Swallowtail Caterpillar

Yellow Swallowtail Caterpillar

Hi Ben,
It is nice to hear from you again. 
Papilio machaon is also found in North America where it is called the Old World Swallowtail, even though BugGuide notes that it is:  “Holarctic, with a very wide distribution in boreal and temperate Eurasia and in western North America.”  Because of the wide range with different climactic conditions and food plants across the range, BugGuide indicates:  “The various subspecies included here under the name Papilio machaon have been (and contunue to be) treated differently by different authors. The most commonly seen alternate classification would have the subspecies bairdii, dodi, oregonius, and pikei placed as subspecies of a distinct species Papilio bairdii, and the more boreal subspecies would be left under the species Papilio machaon. There are good reasons for doing this, but the majority of workers currently place them all under one species. There are also still some people who would prefer to see each name treated individually at species ranking, though this is not widely accepted practice. The result is that these butterflies may be listed under a number of different name combinations, depending upon the preferences of the individual author.”  From the Grapevine has a page of Israel’s Ten Most Beautiful Butterflies that has a lovely image of the Old World Swallowtail.  Since food plants tend to differ with the range, do you know the plant upon which these caterpillars were feeding?  By the way, please include larger digital files in the future if possible.

Yellow Swallowtail Caterpillars

Yellow Swallowtail Caterpillars

Hi Daniel,
I saw the caterpillars on just that one plant, and it wasn’t in flower so identifying it is difficult. However, I believe it to belong to the Resedaceae family, possibly Reseda stenostachya.
I can send larger files if you want, let me know!
Thanks,
Ben

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Subject: Caterpilar with feathers
Location: Hyderabad
February 24, 2015 3:21 am
Hi,
I found this Caterpillar in my garden and was curious to know what is the name of this bug.
Thanks
Signature: Jacinta

Baron Butterfly Caterpillar

Baron Butterfly Caterpillar

Dear Jacinta,
We remember posting a similar image in the past and we located this posting of a Baron Butterfly Caterpillar, Euthalia aconthea, from our archives.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: citrus caterpillar
Location: Cape Town. South Africa
February 2, 2015 10:44 am
Hi
I really love this website. It’s wonderful. I found this caterpillar on my grapefruit tree. Summer, mid January. Very beautiful creature. My question is whether this caterpillar is indigenous South Africa and if not, where is it from? Also, could you post an image of its butterfly Please.
Signature: Bonnie

Citrus Swallowtail Caterpillar

Citrus Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Bonnie,
This is indeed a Citrus Swallowtail Caterpillar,
Papilio demodocus, and the adult, according to Kirby Wolfe, is known as a Christmas Butterfly because they are most common in December.  The species is native to sub-Saharan Africa, and according to the Butterflies of Africa:  “Papilio demodocus is found across most of sub-Saharan Africa, including Madagascar, and is also found in s.w. Arabia. The butterfly bears a remarkable resemblance to P. demoleus, an Oriental species found from n.e. Arabia to the Philippines, and which also occurs in Australasia. The two species however are not as closely related as their appearance would seem to indicate.”  Here are some images of the adult Citrus Swallowtail from our archives.

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Subject: Daniel – Queen Butterfly Chrysalis?
Location: Hawthorne, CA
January 13, 2015 8:10 pm
Hi,
A while back you identified a Queen Butterfly caterpillar for me, and I’m wondering if the pictures I’ve included are the chrysalis of these caterpillars.
Today’s count in the back is 13 Monarch Butterfly chrysalides and five “hanging J’s” as I call them. This excludes the chrysalides I’ve included here. We know there are many, many more that we haven’t or will not be able to spot as there are some overgrown spots this year. There’s still a smattering of caterpillars on the milkweed but they are fast running out of food.
We know you’ve been away from the office for a while, so no hurry should you be able to help with identification on this submission!
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Queen Butterfly

Queen Butterfly

Hi Anna,
This is most definitely a Chrysalis of a Milkweed Butterfly, and since it looks different from the chrysalis of a Monarch, we are confident that it is the chrysalis of a Queen, probably the Queen Caterpillar you submitted earlier in the month.

Queen Chrysalis

Queen Chrysalis

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Subject: Odd Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar
Location: Hawthorne, California
January 4, 2015 6:47 pm
Hi,
I spotted the odd markings on the caterpillar on top earlier today, so took a few quick shots. Imagine my surprise when I got them on the computer, zoomed in, and noticed that the rear antennae aren’t where they are supposed to be! I’m as sure as I can be that it is a Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar and that something has gone wrong. Have you ever seen this type of mutation? I’ve seen them with different markings, but not this noticeable and certainly not with rear antennae so high up on the body.
Signature: Thanks, Anna Carreon

Queen Caterpillar (above) and Monarch Caterpillar

Queen Caterpillar (above) and Monarch Caterpillar

Dear Anna,
We are thrilled to be able to tell you this exciting news.  The reason this caterpillar looks like a Monarch Caterpillar is that it is a related “royal” species in the same genus, the Caterpillar of a Queen.  Adult Queen Butterflies are darker than Monarch Butterflies and their markings are not as pronounced, but they look very similar.  Queen Butterflies also have habits very similar to those of Monarchs, including food plants, but Queens do not migrate.  Congratulations on your new species sighting.

Queen Caterpillar (upper right) and Monarch Caterpillars

Queen Caterpillar (upper right) and Monarch Caterpillars

Oh, my!  Well, I am also thrilled!  I was sure it was some sort of mutation.  I guess I really should stop believing I know what I am talking about and leave stuff like this to those who have more experience and know better.
Thank you so much for making my day!
Anna

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