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

Subject: Catapillars
Location: Vacaville, ca
April 3, 2015 12:33 pm
Please identify this catapillar in the attached pix. Location Vacaville, ca
Signature: Robin

Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar

Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Robin,
It seems it has been years since we posted a new image of a Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar,
Battus philenor.

Jacob Helton, Mary Lemmink Lawrence, Kathy Haines, Juliett Moth liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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.

Sue Dougherty liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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

Amy Gosch, Melissa Leigh Cooley, Sue Dougherty, Kathy Haines liked this post
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.

Mary Lemmink Lawrence, Amy Gosch liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Swallowtail Caterpillar Aggregation

Swallowtail Caterpillar Aggregation

Subject: Caterpillar orgy
Location: Antigua, Guatemala
October 13, 2014 8:40 am
Hey Bugman,
I was planting a bunch of ginger in my garden here in Antigua, Guatemala yesterday and noticed an odd discoloration on the base of my lime tree.
When I went in a bit closer I realized it was about three dozen of these caterpillars, who decided to crop dust me en masse with their osmeterium (or as I prefer to call them, Angry Caterpillar Fart Getaway Tubes®.)
What gives? Did the Caligula of caterpillars suddenly move in, or is this some kind of protective herd behavior against predators?
Also, any help in identifying these little hedonists would be appreciated.
Thanks!
Signature: Ornery Regarding Gassy Youths

Swallowtail Caterpillar Aggregation

Swallowtail Caterpillar Aggregation

Dear Ornery,
These sure look like Ruby Spotted Swallowtail Caterpillars to us, a species in which the caterpillars are social, often being found in large aggregations.
  According to the Butterflies and Moths of North America, the caterpillars of the Ruby Spotted Swallowtail, Papilio anchisiades, feed on the leaves of:  “Trees in the citrus (Rutaceae) family including Citrus, Casimiroa, and Zanthoxylum species” and “Caterpillars rest in clusters on host plant during the day and feed at night; they all feed and molt at the same time.”  This communal activity must have some survival benefit for the species, and the group effect of the olfactory defense mechanism must be more effective than the smell produced by a single individual.  The adult Ruby Spotted Swallowtail is a pretty butterfly.

Thanks so much for the rapid reply! The Ruby Spotted Swallowtail is indeed quite beautiful. I have been a big fan of WTB for years and it has helped me identify dozens of critters. Keep up the great work.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Orange caterpillar (?) with face on it’s back?
Location: West Virginia
September 24, 2014 3:01 pm
Our kindergarten classes were outside on the playground at recess and found this bug. It has spots that appear to be a mouth and eyes on its head. We looked it up and thought perhaps it was a Pandora sphinx caterpillar but aren’t sure. My fellow teacher and I would love to know what it is so we can tell our classes more about it!
Signature: Welch Elementary Kindergarten

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Welch Elementary Kindergarten,
This distinctive caterpillar is a Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar.  The false eyespots might help protect the tasty caterpillar from predators like birds that may mistake a toothsome caterpillar for a much larger and potentially dangerous snake.  Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillars feed on a variety of trees, including “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)” according to BugGuide.  They begin life as green caterpillars that are well camouflaged, but as the time for pupation nears, they often turn orange, leave the trees they have been feeding upon, and find an appropriate site to metamorphose into a chrysalis.  The adult Spicebush Swallowtail is a beautiful black butterfly with colorful markings.

Thank you so much!  We looked it up on the Smart Board and discussed the life cycle. We printed a picture of the butterfly so we can watch for them in the spring.
You have a great site!
Mrs. Merkle

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination