Currently viewing the category: "swallowtail caterpillars"
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Subject: Identify Chrysalis
Location: Australia
May 2, 2015 6:14 pm
I hope that you can help me to identify this chrysalis. It was photographed by a friend in Australia and he has no idea. I was asked to help but find most search engines take me off at a tangent and I have been unable to get a decent photographic library from which to identify this one. I really appreciate any help you might be able to give.
Signature: Corrie

Swallowtail Chrysalis

Cabbage WhiteChrysalis

Dear Corrie,
We were mistaken into thinking that the silken girdle supporting this chrysalis in an upright position indicates that it is a Swallowtail in the family Papilionidae.  We are not certain of the exact species, but you may compare this image to images of Australian Swallowtail Chrysalides posted to Butterflyhouse.  We received a comment with a correction from Ben indicating that this is the chrysalis of a Cabbage White.

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Subject: never seen one
Location: mobile, al
May 1, 2015 1:36 pm
Found this eating camphor leaves. What in the world?
Signature: nathan

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Nathan,
This is the Caterpillar of a Spicebush Swallowtail,
Papilio troilus, and most of the images on our site are more mature caterpillars, including many that are turning orange just prior to pupation.  Your earlier instar can be compared to this image on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, preferred food plants include:  “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).”  The adult Spicebush Swallowtail is a beautiful butterfly.

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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.

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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: 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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