Subject: Itching to find out what catapillar/moth this is.
Location: Los Angeles, California
October 8, 2015 9:18 pm
I have been looking on tons of websites and google images trying to find out what bug this is. It’s has been in my rue plant for around 3 days now and I haven’t been able to find out what type of bug it is.
Season:Fall
Month:October
Where:Inside( has been outside for 1-2 weeks but only spotted bug inside )
Location: Los Angeles, Calofornia
Please Help!
Signature: From, Ashton

Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar

Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Ashton,
This interesting caterpillar is a Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar, and most of the identification requests we receive of this species have the caterpillars feeding on the leaves of citrus, prompting the common name Orange Dog.  If you disturb the Orange Dog, it will reveal an orange, forked organ known as an osmeterium that produces an odor found repulsive by some predators.  The coloration and markings of the Orange Dog causes the caterpillar to resemble a bird’s dropping, which is another form of protective mimicry that helps to ensure that it appears unappetizing to predators.  The adult Giant Swallowtail is a large butterfly native to the North American southeast, but upon the wholesale cultivation of citrus and the adaptation of the species to a non-native food source, the range of the species has expanded, eventually reaching Los Angeles in the late 20th Century.  We have received one previous report of Giant Swallowtail Caterpillars feeding on rue, and we must say we are really curious why you relocated your plant indoors.  Folks who live in places that get a hard frost and severe winters often keep plants outdoors in the summer and then indoors in the winter, but if all predictions regarding El Niño this winter are accurate, it will be a wet and warm winter for Angelinos. 

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