What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Bug found on Lemon Tree in AZ
May 2, 2009 at 12:57 PM
We found this bug on a leaf of our Lemon Tree. What is it? Is it harmful to humans? Is it harmful to the tree or other vegetation? Do we need to spray the tree or other plants?
SW – Scottsdale, AZ

Orange Dog

Orange Dog

Hi Stan,
This is the caterpillar of a beautiful butterfly, the Giant Swallowtail.  The caterpillar is commonly called an Orange Dog and it mimics bird droppings to avoid getting eaten.  The caterpillar will eat some leaves, but will do no lasting harm to your tree.  You should not spray your tree because of the Orange Dog.  The Orange Dog is not harmful to humans, but if you provoke it, you will be treated to seeing the osmetrium emerge.  The osmetrium is a scent organ resembling two orange horns and it gives off an odor to repel its attacker.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
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7 Responses to Orange Dog

  1. konsuala says:

    as my sister put it “it smells like a wet dog that’s been peed on”.

  2. carolyne shapiro says:

    I have been growing a lemon tree about three years now – just the other day I saw what looked to be a bird dropping on one of the leaves but to my surprise the thing moved!!! I do not know what it was doing but a big bubble came out of its mouth like it was giving birth which it might have been as a small – very small baby one then appeared on a leaf not far from – I cannot find the original one but the baby grew pretty darn big literally overnight – it is eating up some of my leaves but there are enough leaves for it to eat that I am not worried – does anyone know how long it takes to turn into a cocoon and then into a butterfly? It is by far one of the weridest and ugliest things I have ever seen but I do not know what to do with it -I don’t want to kill it but I really do not want it in my tree anymore either – have no clue how it is after three years where it came from – have never seen one before and I have four lemon trees – please if anyone has any answers – write to me at my e mail: dascas1958@gmail.com I would be most appreciative – thank you!!!!! Carolyne

  3. Linda Singleton says:

    I have one onmy lemon tree. How long efore it turns into a butterfly. It is two inches long?

  4. carolyne says:

    Thank you bugman – mine went away oddly. I am hoping all for the good. Have not seen another since. None of my other lemon trees have these strange little guys on them – just the big one who was eating thru my leaves at a rather rapid pace until he stayed still for a few weeks and then just disappeared. I am hoping he managed to turn into a butterfly. I have twp preying mantis’ now and am concerned a preying mantis certainly could have eaten him up which makes me sad. What is it that happens when it goes from the bird drop looking like thing into a cocoon? I am thinking it must look something like a large acorn?

  5. robbye says:

    thanks for all of the information, I had never seen one before and this morning found one on my orange tree.

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