Currently viewing the category: "butterfly caterpillars"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Orange Dog Caterpillar?
Location: Southern Orange County, CA
July 23, 2016 10:56 am
I found two caterpillars on my navel orange tree on July 22, 2016. Are these Giant Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillars?
Signature: Julie Macy

Orange Dogs

Orange Dogs

Dear Julie,
You are absolutely correct.  These are Orange Dogs, the caterpillars of Giant Swallowtails.  Interestingly, though they are native to North America, Giant Swallowtails were first reported in Southern California in the 1990s.  Their range expanded as citrus cultivation moved across the country.  Even though citrus is not native to North America, once cultivation of oranges and other citrus fruits gained popularity in the southeast, the native Giant Swallowtails adapted to them as a host plant.

Thank you!  I found another yesterday.  I’ve never seen them before.  It will be fun to watch them as they change.
Julie

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Consultation
Location: Whitehorse, Yukon
July 18, 2016 8:41 pm
Hi there,
Wondering if you might be able to help me identify this beauty. Maybe some kind of tent caterpillar? I found a bunch of them eating what I believe are the leaves of the trembling aspen. It just pupated and I would love to know the species so I can know approximately how long it will remain in the pupal stage.
So much appreciated!
Signature: Nicole

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar

Dear Nicole,
These are most certainly NOT going to become Tent Caterpillar Moths, though we understand why you are mistaken.  The Caterpillar and Chrysalis will both eventually metamorphose into lovely Mourning Cloak Butterflies.  According to BugGuide:  “Eggs are laid in groups circling twigs of the host plant. Caterpillars live in a communal web and feed together on young leaves, then pupate and emerge as adults in June or July. After feeding briefly, the adults estivate until fall, when they re-emerge to feed and store energy for hibernation. Some adults migrate south in the fall.”  Because they hibernate as adults, Mourning Cloaks are among the longest lived butterflies and they are among the first to appear in the spring, sometimes flying on warm sunny days while there is still snow on the ground.  Mourning Cloaks are somewhat unusual among butterflies too in that they rarely visit flowers for nectar, instead feeding on tree sap and overly ripe fruit, two good natural sources for sugary fluids that they need for sustenance.  Mourning Cloaks have a large range including most of the northern hemisphere.  In England, the butterfly is called the Camberwell Beauty.

Mourning Cloak Chrysalis

Mourning Cloak Chrysalis

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this
Location: Ohio
July 16, 2016 5:14 am
This was found in a garden in eastern Ohio. I’m curious as to what it is.
Signature: Ron

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Ron,
This is the Caterpillar of a Spicebush Swallowtail, and it is widely accepted that the caterpillar has evolved so that the false eyespots on the caterpillar act as a form of protective mimicry by potentially fooling predators into thinking that their prey might actually be a larger and potentially threatening predator itself.  According to BugGuide:  “Caterpillar hosts: Spicebush (
Lindera benzoin), Sassafras trees (Sassafras albidum), Pondspice (Litsea aestivalis) Red, Swamp and Silk Bays (Persea spp.); perhaps prickly ash (Zanthoxylum americanum), Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), Sweetbay (Magnolia virginiana), and Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora).”  Do you have any of those plants in your garden?

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillar
Location: Pennsylvania
June 14, 2016 3:49 pm
Found these in our garden on a dill plant, there’s about 10 of them and we don’t know what they are or if they will harm the plants. Thanks!
Signature: Marissa

Black Swallowtail Caterpillars

Black Swallowtail Caterpillars

Dear Marissa
These are Black Swallowtail Caterpillars,
Papilio polyxenes, and they are sometimes called Carrot Worms or Parsley Worms because they feed on the foliage of carrots and related plants, including parsley and dill.  They will eventually mature into gorgeous Black Swallowtail Butterflies.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillar
Location: Davidson County, NC
May 25, 2016 6:58 am
Hi, bugman! Can you help ID this caterpillar? I’ve looked at many pictures today and can’t find it. Thank you!
Signature: Donna

American Lady Caterpillar

American Lady Caterpillar

Dear Donna,
We had to scroll through quite a few Brush Footed Butterfly Caterpillars before we identified your American Lady Caterpillar,
Vanessa virginiensis, thanks to images posted to BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on Cudweeds, Everlastings and Pussytoes – Gnaphalium, Anaphalis, Antennaria.”

American Lady Caterpillar

American Lady Caterpillar

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: catepillar, bug, and spider
Location: Shore of Hells Canyon Reservoir, Oregon side
May 18, 2016 8:32 am
My son took these photos of some interesting invertebrates in our campsite. The vegetation is blackberry, rose, and common hackberry for trees.
We would love to know what species these are or any information you could give us.
Signature: Barbara Webb

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar

Mourning Cloak Caterpillar

Dear Barbara,
This is a wonderful image of a Mourning Cloak Caterpillar, and we will be posting it to our site to help our readership identify them in future encounters.  Your other insects are an immature Katydid and an Orbweaver spider.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination