HI. Just found this on my lemonade tree, another has the red “feelers” out of sight, or retracted, would love to know what it is. Thank you,
We can say with near certainty that you did not photograph this Swallowtail Caterpillar in the continental U.S. That said, we have no idea what species it is or where you photographed it, though that is information you could have easily supplied to us. Swallowtails are large showy butterflies, often with tails on the hind wings. Most of the caterpillars have a forked scent gland near the head known as the osmeterium. It is normally concealed, but when the caterpillar is disturbed, it emits an odor from this scent gland. We only wish we knew what exotic country you took the photo. It sure is a pretty specimen.
Update: (01/21/2007) swallowtail ID
I saw the gorgeous image you guys posted recently of a swallowtail larva from an undisclosed country. It looked sort of like an orange dog, Papilio cresphontes, only it had green and a lot of spines, and a bright red osmeterium. I did some googling, and I think it’s the Orchard Swallowtail, Papilio aegeus. They are found in Australia! Here’s a couple of links to sites I found. http://www.geocities.com/brisbane_butters/Orch_butt.htm
Thanks for the update Bobby, We also noticed the resemblance to the Orange Dog in the osmeterium, but we didn’t have the time to do further research without a country. Australia was an obvious choice at this time of year. Thanks again.