Currently viewing the category: "swallowtail caterpillars"
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Subject: weird big thing
Location: south eastern Pennsylvania
August 27, 2016 6:01 pm
this was found on my neighbors house, we live in the suburbs and her house is backed up against the woods, I don’t know if any of that helps… but if you could identify this for me I’m quite curious!
Signature: Karen

Probably Spicebush Swallowtail Chrysalis

Probably Spicebush Swallowtail Chrysalis

Dear Karen,
This is the chrysalis of a Swallowtail Butterfly, and we believe it belongs to a Spicebush Swallowtail based on comparing your image to this BugGuide image.  According to Featured Creatures:  “Pupae: Pupae have two anterior “horns”. Pupae from larvae developing under long photoperiods may be either green (Figure 9) or brown (Figure 10). All pupae from short photoperiod larvae (diapause pupae) are brown. Within the last 24 hours prior to adult emergence, the pre-adult gradually becomes visible through the transparent pupal cuticle.”

Spicebush Swallowtail Chrysalis

Spicebush Swallowtail Chrysalis

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Subject: What type of swallowtail?
Location: Eagle Point, Oregon 9752r
August 18, 2016 3:19 pm
Hi, I just spotted this caterpillar this morning. I live in Eagle Point Oregon (southern oregon). I think it is maybe a western tiger swallowtail but am not sure due to the orange coloring.
Signature: Lara

Western Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

Possibly Two-Tailed Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Lara,
Based on the caterpillar’s appearance, and your location, the only other possible species are the Pale Tiger Swallowtail and the Two-Tailed Swallowtail, so we turned to BugGuide where the comparison between two are described as:  “Larvae very similar to those of Pale Tiger Swallowtail, but black pupil of false eye-spot larger, and yellow spot inside eyespot entirely separated from it, not just notched.”  You may visually compare the difference in the eyespots by comparing this BugGuide image of the Caterpillar of a Western Tiger Swallowtail with this BugGuide image of the Caterpillar of a Pale Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar,
Papilio eurymedon.  Between the two, we are inclined to agree with you that this is the caterpillar of a Western Tiger Swallowtail, but we still haven’t considered the Two-Tailed Swallowtail.  The Two-Tailed Swallowtail Caterpillar is described on BugGuide as:  “Caterpillars resemble those of Eastern Tiger Swallowtail” which isn’t much help, nor is comparing your image to that of a Two-Tailed Swallowtail Caterpillar, Papilio multicaudatus, on BugGuide.  We have a very difficult time distinguishing between the species, so we are contacting Keith Wolfe for his opinion.  We are guessing it is a Two-Tailed Swallowtail Caterpillar based on image comparison of the eye spots.  One thing we can address is the orange color, which means your caterpillar is pre-pupal.  It has left its food source and is searching for a place to pupate.

Western Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

Possibly Two-Tailed Swallowtail Caterpillar

Keith Wolfe Responds
Hello Lara and Daniel,
Caterpillars of the Pale, Two-tailed, and Western swallowtails are indeed difficult to distinguish by appearance alone, thus their somewhat differing preference of Oregonian hostplants — or in this case, shrubs/trees growing nearby — is probably the best indicator . . .
* Pale Swallowtail (Papilio eurymedon): Mainly various wild lilacs (Ceanothus).
* Two-tailed Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata): Mostly wild cherries (Prunus), ash (Fraxinus), and hoptree (Ptelea).
* Western Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio rutulus): Many species of aspen and poplar (Populus), willow (Salix), and maple (Acer).
Hopefully the above isn’t too “scientific”.
Best wishes,
Keith

Lara Responds
Thank you.  Nearby to where I found it are Ash and Oak trees primarily.

Ed. Note:  Based on the information provided by Keith Wolfe and the response from Lara, we can speculate this is most likely the caterpillar of a Two-Tailed Swallowtail.

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Subject: Butterfly
Location: philippines
July 27, 2016 12:18 am
May i ask the Family/Genus of this butterfly if that is ok;) coz i like to collect pupa of butterflies and excited to see what it looks like as it emerge…thanks…
Signature: karyl

Common Jay Chrysalis

Common Jay Chrysalis

Dear Karyl,
This butterfly is in the family Papilionidae a group that includes swallowtails, birdwings and Apollos.  We believe we have correctly identified your butterfly as a Common Jay,
Arisbe doson gyndes, thanks to images posted to the Philippine Lepidoptera site.  Insect Designs also has a nice image. 

Common Jay

Common Jay

thank you so much for the identification;)

Common Jay ventral surface

Common Jay ventral surface

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

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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?

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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