My neighbor referred me to your site when I showed her these strange little creatures that have taken up residence on my orange tree. They’ve probably been there since last year when I first noticed the “snail trail” they leave on the leaves. I never found the bugs and the local nursery wasn’t able to identify the bug that might leave the snail trail. It nearly killed my orange tree last year. So this year everything was going along swimmingly, my orange tree has quite a bounty of fruit, but I started seeing the snail trails again. I’ve been trimming off the affected leaves as I see them. In hunting out damaged leaves I came across a whole branch in the very back of the tree that was covered with these guys. I thought they were bird poop at first! They really look like it. But on closer inspection I realized they were way too uniform and then I see it looks like they even have a face!! Like little dragons. One even reared its head as I was trying to take the picture. Any ideas? Thanks so much.
You have two different unrelated caterpillars here. The caterpillar that resemble bird poop are Giant Swallowtails, lovely large brown and yellow butterflies whose caterpillars are known as Orange Dogs. The snail’s trail is being made by the Citrus Leaf Miner, Phyllocnistis citrella, the caterpillar of a tiny moth that feeds on the tissues between the epideral layers of the leaves of citrus trees.