Currently viewing the category: "butterfly caterpillars"
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Subject: caterpillar
Location: Boyce, VA, US
July 21, 2014 10:02 am
Can you help me identify this caterpillar? Found it on some violet family plants.
Signature: Emelford

Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar

Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar

Dear Emelford,
This pretty little caterpillar is a Variegated Fritillary Caterpillar,
Euptoieta claudia, and we quickly identified it thanks to this image posted to BugGuide.  The adult Variegated Fritillary is a lovely orange butterfly.

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Subject: is this a orange swallowtail
Location: Grand Junction, CO
July 19, 2014 9:49 am
what is this? my cat brought this in the house today. I took it away from her and put it back outside
Signature: Tracie

Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

Hi Tracie,
You are correct that this is one of the Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillars, which look very similar, and the orange color indicates that it is getting ready to pupate.  Several species are reported from Colorado according to BugGuide, including the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail and the Pale Swallowtail.

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Subject: unidentified caterpillar
Location: houston, tx
July 14, 2014 8:53 am
Hi. Found a bunch of these guys yesterday eating my anise plant and nothing else..
People are calling them monarchs, but, I do not agree.
Your input would be most interesting.
Signature: Angela gumerman

Anise Swallowtail Caterpillar

Anise Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Angela,
You are correct to recognize that this is not a Monarch Caterpillar.  It is a Swallowtail Caterpillar, and considering the Texas location and the anise food plant, it might be the caterpillar of an Anise Swallowtail,
Papilio zelicaon, though BugGuide does not report the species as far east as Texas.  The caterpillar of the Black Swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes, looks very similar and it has a more eastern range, and though BugGuide lists food plants as:  “Larvae feed primarily on plants of the carrot family (Apiaceae = Umbelliferae), and some in the Rue Family (Rutaceae). Commonly found on Dill, Parsley, Fennel, Carrot, and Rue in gardens, and Queen-Anne’s-Lace, Poison Hemlock, and Lovage in the wild. They will occasionally be found on Citrus trees”, we believe they will also feed on anise.

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Subject: New pet at new home
Location: Encinitas, CA
July 7, 2014 9:02 pm
Hi, my husband and I just moved to Encinitas, CA (San Diego County) today (July 7th) and found this guy welcoming us at our new home, munching on our lemon tree. He’s a cutie (and a little scary with that face!) and we want to let him chow down, but want to make sure he’s not an invasive/destructive species. Any ideas what he is?
Signature: Allison in Encinitas

Orange Dog

Orange Dog

Dear Allison,
This is an Orange Dog, the caterpillar of the Giant Swallowtail, the largest butterfly found in southern California.  Giant Swallowtails are native to the eastern part of North America, however, when citrus was introduced as a crop in Florida, the Giant Swallowtail adapted to feeding on the leaves of the introduced trees.  As the cultivation of citrus spread in North America to include Arizona and Southern California, the Giant Swallowtails expanded their range as the food was readily available.  though not theoretically native to Southern California, the Giant Swallowtail is native to North America, the the damage caused by the feeding caterpillars is relatively insignificant.  If you disturb the Orange Dog, you will likely get to see the osmeterium, a forked organ that releases a scent to deter predators.

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Subject: Western tiger swallowtail caterpillar?
Location: Santa fe nm
July 5, 2014 9:05 pm
Found this super handsome caterpillar in our yard! He looks pretty close to finding a place for his transition
Signature: Sjhizny

Swallowtail Caterpillar near to pupation

Swallowtail Caterpillar near to pupation

Dear Sjhizny,
There are several butterflies similar looking to the Western Tiger Swallowtail that also have similar looking caterpillars, so your location is helpful in narrowing the possibilities.  According to BugGuide, species other than the Western Tiger Swallowtail,
Papilio rutulus, which range in New Mexico include: the Two Tailed Swallowtail, Papilio multicaudatus, and possibly the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio glaucus, which is reported as far west as Texas and Colorado and possibly the Pale Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio eurymedon.  The coloration on this individual indicates it is approaching the time to transform into a chrysalis.  Your image is quite stunning.  

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Location: Northeast Mexico
May 16, 2014
Yes, I guess it wasn’t that caterpillar. A bird must have taken it or something. It kept coming back for that day, especially on the parsley. The first pictures is among the best I could get. It was the black swallowtail from here http://www.iwallpapersfive.com/eastern-black-swallowtail-butterfly-with-a-grateful-prayer-and-a-thankful-heart-eastern-black.html/eastern-black-swallowtail-butterfly-with-a-grateful-prayer-and-a-thankful-heart-eastern-black-2
Anyway, I later found a quite a few caterpillars on the parsley that look exactly like those of the eastern black swallowtail blog post, so maybe those will become that black and blue butterfly.
A couple of the caterpillars were good sized, some were very small, but they have all kept growing. Right now you can see many at different stages, here I send some pictures.
I found a chrysalis on a crate right by where I had found the first bigger caterpillar, the one that was possibly a tiger swallowtail, maybe that one will come out.
Signature: Alex

Female Black Swallowtail Ovipositing

Female Black Swallowtail Ovipositing

Hi Alex,
This definitely represents a different Swallowtail species than your previously submitted image.  This does appear to be a female Black Swallowtail (females have blue markings on wings) and she appears to be laying eggs.  The caterpillar does appear to be that of a Black Swallowtail feeding on parsley.  Since you are in Northeastern Mexico, it is entirely possible that you live within the range of the Black Swallowtail.
  Black Swallowtail Caterpillars are known as Parsley Worms.

Parsley Worm

Parsley Worm

Thank you Daniel! It’s been fun trying to keep up with all these bugs..

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