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

Subject: Big Green worm
Location: Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
April 13, 2014 10:29 pm
Hi
I found these guys on my lemon tree and they have now spread to most trees in my garden.
Scary looking things with a thorn on there backs, have 2 big eyes and a mouth that looks like something out of aliens.
Pics attached.
Signature: Regards,

Citrus Swallowtail Caterpillar

Citrus Swallowtail Caterpillar

This is the Caterpillar of a Citrus Swallowtail, Papilio demodocus, a lovely butterfly that feeds on the leaves of citrus trees while in the larval stage.  All the features you describe are used as defense mechanisms by the caterpillar, which has a forked organ known as an osmeterium that is revealed and accompanied by a scent some predators might find off-putting.  We believe that is the thorn you have mentioned.  The eyes and mouth you mentioned are markings that might cause a predator, like a bird, to believe this is a much larger predator, like a snake, instead of a delectable morsel.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: slug bug
Location: Montclair NJ
January 22, 2014 1:13 pm
Hi – This bug was spotted in the suburbs of Montclair, NJ on a grassy curb.
July 19, 2012
Can you help identify it …?
thanks!
Signature: A Borns

Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear A Borns,
This is the caterpillar of an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail or a closely related species.  The beetle on the right is some species of Scarab.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Can you identify?
Location: Taiwan
November 18, 2013 10:08 pm
Dear Bug People:
Are you able to tell me who is voraciously eating my cute mini-orange tree? (pic enclosed)
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Found on: Orange tree sapling
Size: about 4 cm
Color: green, with some uneven black spots/bands
Built: muscular, probably works out, nice abs, compact
Hairs: none
Behavior: protested against being picked up by sliming me and extending two orange-red tentacle-like appendages from its head, which it subsequently subtracted.
Current status: moping on a Taro leaf on other balcony. Not happy?
Signature: Luuk

Citrus Swallowtail Caterpillar

Citrus Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Luuk,
This appears to be an early instar caterpillar of a Citrus Swallowtail or Lime Swallowtail,
Papilio demoleus.  You can see comparable images as well as images of the entire life cycle on Featured Creatures.  If you can endure the loss of a some leaves on your tree, your will eventually metamorphose into a lovely Citrus Swallowtail.

Dear Daniel:
Thank you so much for your trouble! I really appreciate the prompt and detailed reply.
I have taken the pouting Citrus Swallowtail caterpillar from the Taro where I had put it to save my frail orange tree, and put him back. He’s now happily munching away again. I figured I can always buy a new orange tree sapling, but I would not know where to purchase a beautiful butterfly.
Thanks again!
Luuk

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Caterpillar ID
Location: santa fe, new mexico
October 26, 2013 4:08 pm
This one is from a friend in Santa Fe. It didn’t look like you had a photo on your site, so I figured I’d ask if you knew what species it was.
Signature: Patrick

Possibly Two-Tailed Swallowtail Caterpillar

Possibly Two-Tailed Swallowtail Caterpillar

Hi Patrick,
This is a Swallowtail Caterpillar, and it might be an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar, but considering your location, we think it is more likely the caterpillar of a Two-Tailed Swallowtail.  This image from BugGuide is a nearly perfect match to your individual.  Many caterpillars change color just prior to pupation.  This caterpillar was most likely green until just recently.  The orange color is an indication that it has finished feeding and it is searching for a good location to transform into a chrysalis.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Please help me identify
Location: North west province, south africa
October 25, 2013 11:00 am
Hi, I found this creature crawling across my kitchen floor in hartebeespoort South Africa. It had red ’tentacles’ that emitted a nasty odour that it retracted. I figure it is some kind of swallowtail. Can you help me identify the species.
Signature: Jo

Citrus Swallowtail Caterpillar

Citrus Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Jo,
This is the caterpillar of a Citrus Swallowtail,
Papilio demodocus, and we are guessing there was a citrus tree nearby.  Like the individual in the link we provided, your individual is most likely searching for a place to begin metamorphosis.  The adult Citrus Swallowtail is a lovely butterfly.  We wish you had been able to provide an image of the osmeterium, the forked scent gland that is characteristic of Swallowtail Caterpillars and other species in the family Papilionidae including this Fuscus Swallowtail Caterpillar from our archives.  This photo from Getty Images identifies the Citrus Swallowtail as being in a different genus, and the name Princeps demodocus may represent a recent taxonomic change.

Thank you for that response. It is great idea you guys have and it’s nice to know there is somewhere one can go to have one’s bug questions answered. Keep well.
Jo

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Chrysalis Update
Location: Southwestern Shaanxi Province, China
September 29, 2013 8:28 pm
Thought you might like an update on the caterpillar which was about to transform. I went to see the progress it was making and it has begun its pupation. It’s weird how different the chrysalis looks from the caterpillar!
Signature: Paul UK

Swallowtail Chrysalis

Swallowtail Chrysalis

Hi Paul,
Thanks for the update on the Swallowtail Caterpillar.  We are very curious about the adult butterfly.  Though this chrysalis shares certain features with our more familiar North American Swallowtail species, including the silken girdle and the upright orientation, that thoracic “thorn” is totally unfamiliar to us.  We hope you send us some images of the adult Swallowtail once it emerges.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination