Subject: Caterpillar ID
Geographic location of the bug: Warner’s Bay NSW
Time: 04:12 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Can you identify this caterpillar which was on a dwarf Lime Citrus tree? I tried uploading a video before. Wouldn’t allow it. Couldn’t cancel it. Had to start over
How you want your letter signed: Brian Holt
This is the Caterpillar of an Orchard Swallowtail, Papilio aegeus, and you can verify our identification on Butterfly House where it states: “Although this Caterpillar is a pest on suburban Lemon trees, it is one of the most interesting caterpillars in Australia, Both its structure and its behaviour have evolved to an extraordinary degree to give it protective mechanisms against predators. It also grows into one of the largest butterflies to grace suburban gardens.” Here is an image from FlickR. Though they feed on the leaves, unless you have a very small tree and a large number of caterpillars, the damage is not lethal to the tree. We would allow the caterpillar to remain so you can enjoy the adult Orchard Swallowtail.
Thank you for your help. This is exactly the advice I gave my customers on my gardening FB Page. I’d like to publish your response there.
Regards, Brian Holt
HOLTS Prestige Gardens