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

Subject: What the heck is this bug with a forked tongue?
Location: Culver City, California
December 13, 2015 5:20 pm
Hello bugman,
we just discovered this bug that looks like a reptile/caterpillar with a brown/greenish body with white on it & an orange forked tongue that’s on our little baby orange tree?
Signature: Cyn & Tony

Orange Dog

Orange Dog

Dear Cyn & Tony,
This is the caterpillar of a Giant Swallowtail, commonly called an Orange Dog.  Caterpillars feed on the leaves of citrus trees, but they are not known to cause significant damage to a healthy tree.  The orange forked tongue you mentioned is a scent organ called the osmeterium that releases an odor that might help to deter predators.  Adult Giant Swallowtails are the largest butterflies found in Los Angeles.  This is a species native to the eastern portion of North America, but with the cultivation of citrus crops in the west, there has been a significant range expansion.  The Giant Swallowtail was first reported in Southern California in the 1990s.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Anise Swallowtail Caterpillar in WTB? garden
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
December 7, 2015 11:30 AM
Today while digging in the dirt in preparation for planting onions, we noticed this Anise Swallowtail Caterpillar munching on carrot greens.  Though we have grown carrots for ten years, and though Anise Swallowtails are relatively common in the area, this is our first sighting of a Caterpillar in the vegetable garden.

Anise Swallowtail Caterpillar

Anise Swallowtail Caterpillar

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: It’s a caterpillar ,but which species.
Location: India,Maharashtra, Mumbai
November 23, 2015 2:44 am
A couple of weeks ago a beautiful butterfly layed her eggs on my plany of curry leaves.
They where 7-8 but only 1 survived due to weak condition of weather and plant .
But these beautiful caterpillar is of which species and how will it look after becoming a butterfly I want to know.
Signature: Sahil

Swallowtail Caterpillar

Common Mormon Caterpillar

Dear Sahil,
This is the caterpillar of a Swallowtail Butterfly and there are several species that look quite similar, but we are relatively confident that this is a Lime Butterfly Caterpillar, based on this description provided to us by Keith Wolfe in a previous posting on our site:  “I’ve seen hundreds of Lime Butterfly and Common Mormon larvae all across Asia, the two being easily separable by a coffee-colored band between the “eyes” (Lime Butterfly) and prominent blue spots on the head and body (Common Mormon).”  We don’t normally link to Wikipedia, but there is a beautiful set of images documenting the metamorphosis of the Lime Butterfly posted there.  Fluttery has a nice comparison of the similar looking Swallowtail caterpillars.  Just to be certain, we are writing to Keith Wolfe to get verification on our identification.

Correction Courtesy of Keith Wolfe
Hi Sahil and Daniel,
Sorry Bugman, this is in fact a Common Mormon (Papilio polytes, http://www.ifoundbutterflies.org/sp/603/Papilio-polytes/early-stages).  Its caterpillar and those of the Lime Butterfly (P. demoleus, http://www.ifoundbutterflies.org/sp/602/Papilio-demoleus/early-stages) are frequently confused, but a careful check reveals several distinctions.
Best wishes,
Keith

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Late season black swallowtail caterpillar
Location: Evergreen Park Illinois
November 9, 2015 5:26 am
First (Fall) black morph black swallowtail caterpillar that I have seen in my garden over the years. I always seem to end up with one or two of them in Fall, but usually they are the standard green color. I put a cold frame up to give it a better chance of pupating as we have had frosts here the last few nights.
Signature: OZ-IL

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear OZ-IL,
This is a very dark Black Swallowtail Caterpillar, but BugGuide does have some images depicting this dark coloration.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Larva on lemon tree
Location: Riverside, CA
November 2, 2015 4:41 pm
Hello,
I was wondering if this is a destructive bug or a benifical. It just showed up on my lemon tree in Southern California. The tree has curling leaves like it has leaf miners of some sort. How shall I protect my plant?
Signature: Thank you for any help. Allison

Orange Dog

Orange Dog

Dear Allison,
Destructive and Beneficial are somewhat relative terms when it comes to phytophagous or plant feeding insects.  This is an Orange Dog, the caterpillar of a Giant Swallowtail.  It is theoretically not a species native to California, but rather native to the North American Southeast, but with the cultivation of citrus in Florida and then elsewhere in the warmer climates of North America, the species adapted to feeding on the leaves of the cultivated citrus and its range expanded with that cultivation.  Giant Swallowtails were first reported in California in the 1990s and they are now quite established.  In our opinion, the loss of leaves from an individual caterpillar is a minor sacrifice to the gardener considering the beauty of the adult butterfly, which is the largest butterfly found in California.  The coloration of the Orange Dog resembles the pattern of a bird’s droppings, creating an effective means of camouflage for the tasty caterpillar.  The curling leaves and leaf miners are not related to the Orange Dog and they pose a more serious threat to your lemon than the Orange Dog poses.

Thank you.  I was going to spray neem to fight the leaf minors, but held off until I figured out what the catapillar was.  I guess I’ll hold off.  I would love to see the butterflies.  Neem would hurt them I suppose.
Cheers,
Allison

Insecticides generally do not distinguish between insects you want to keep and those you want to eradicate.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Itching to find out what catapillar/moth this is.
Location: Los Angeles, California
October 8, 2015 9:18 pm
I have been looking on tons of websites and google images trying to find out what bug this is. It’s has been in my rue plant for around 3 days now and I haven’t been able to find out what type of bug it is.
Season:Fall
Month:October
Where:Inside( has been outside for 1-2 weeks but only spotted bug inside )
Location: Los Angeles, Calofornia
Please Help!
Signature: From, Ashton

Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar

Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Ashton,
This interesting caterpillar is a Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar, and most of the identification requests we receive of this species have the caterpillars feeding on the leaves of citrus, prompting the common name Orange Dog.  If you disturb the Orange Dog, it will reveal an orange, forked organ known as an osmeterium that produces an odor found repulsive by some predators.  The coloration and markings of the Orange Dog causes the caterpillar to resemble a bird’s dropping, which is another form of protective mimicry that helps to ensure that it appears unappetizing to predators.  The adult Giant Swallowtail is a large butterfly native to the North American southeast, but upon the wholesale cultivation of citrus and the adaptation of the species to a non-native food source, the range of the species has expanded, eventually reaching Los Angeles in the late 20th Century.  We have received one previous report of Giant Swallowtail Caterpillars feeding on rue, and we must say we are really curious why you relocated your plant indoors.  Folks who live in places that get a hard frost and severe winters often keep plants outdoors in the summer and then indoors in the winter, but if all predictions regarding El Niño this winter are accurate, it will be a wet and warm winter for Angelinos. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination