Alien Worm on my Orange Tree
June 3, 2010
Strangest worm looking creature with a sort of shell and retracting antenna was on my orange tree this morning. I put it in a jar with the leaf, and it ate some of the leaf.
any way you like
Lutz, FL zip code 33549

Orange Dog

Dear any way,
This is the caterpillar of a Giant Swallowtail, a lovely brown and yellow butterfly with tails on the hind wings.  Commonly called an Orange Dog, this caterpillar avoids being eaten by birds because it resembles bird droppings.  The retracting antennae you mentioned are a scent organ knows as the osmetrium.  When disturbed, many Swallowtail Caterpillars reveal this organ which is accompanied by a scent thought to deter predators.  The sacrifice of losing a few leaves on your tree will reward you with an adult butterfly in the coming weeks.

One Response to Orange Dog

  1. pompom says:

    when I first found this snake like creature I was mystified even somewhat horrified Does anyone know what the curious looking orange bodied fly is that hangs out near my caterpillars and what they are doing? Im assuming they are hanging around for the eggs? Any info would be appreciated.

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