Subject: Worms on trunk of citrus tree
Location: Central coast of Mexico
December 30, 2012 11:23 pm
These worms all line up next to eachother and stick together making a wide band around the trunk of my citrus trees. They move at night and eat leaves off the tree leaving the branches leafless. The pictures show small ones, but sometimes they’re as long as 2” or more.
We believe these are early instar Ruby Spotted Swallowtail Caterpillars, Papilio anchisiades. The species is common in Mexico, and its caterpillars are feed on citrus and are social, most likely for protection. Butterflies of America has nice images of the life cycle of this lovely butterfly.
Yes, the first photo in the link shows them exactly the way they look here. The butterflies are very common here. I’ve seen lots of them, and also the tiger swallowtail. It’s nice to learn how the butterflies start out and what they change into. Fascinating. Thank you so much for your quick reply and your wonderful website!
Happy New Year,