Subject: Can you identify?
November 18, 2013 10:08 pm
Dear Bug People:
Are you able to tell me who is voraciously eating my cute mini-orange tree? (pic enclosed)
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Found on: Orange tree sapling
Size: about 4 cm
Color: green, with some uneven black spots/bands
Built: muscular, probably works out, nice abs, compact
Behavior: protested against being picked up by sliming me and extending two orange-red tentacle-like appendages from its head, which it subsequently subtracted.
Current status: moping on a Taro leaf on other balcony. Not happy?
This appears to be an early instar caterpillar of a Citrus Swallowtail or Lime Swallowtail, Papilio demoleus. You can see comparable images as well as images of the entire life cycle on Featured Creatures. If you can endure the loss of a some leaves on your tree, your will eventually metamorphose into a lovely Citrus Swallowtail.
Thank you so much for your trouble! I really appreciate the prompt and detailed reply.
I have taken the pouting Citrus Swallowtail caterpillar from the Taro where I had put it to save my frail orange tree, and put him back. He’s now happily munching away again. I figured I can always buy a new orange tree sapling, but I would not know where to purchase a beautiful butterfly.