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,
dawn lewis

Hi Dawn,
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
Hey, guys!
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.

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2 Responses to Unknown Swallowtail Caterpillar: probably Orchard Swallowtail

  1. I live in Gulfport Mississippi ‘ I too was on my pouch looking for bugs with my young kids and I too had two of these on my lemon tree. Yes here in Mississippi . The the fillers looked like red dots until we touched it with a stick. It bent his body and the two fillers came out as it waved them around.

    • bugman says:

      The Orchard Swallowtail is not a North American species, and we have not yet heard of any accidental introductions in Mississippi. The most likely Swallowtail Caterpillar to find feeding on citrus in North America is the Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar, known as an Orange Dog, and though it does possess an osmeterium, it looks nothing like the Orchard Swallowtail Caterpillar.

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