Currently viewing the category: "swallowtail caterpillars"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What’s this caterpillar?
Geographic location of the bug:  Hingham, MA
Date: 09/23/2017
Time: 08:38 AM EDT
Hello, my sons have never seen this type of caterpillar and would love to know what it is called and more about it!
How you want your letter signed:  #askingforhersons

Pre-Pupal Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear #askingforhersons,
This whimsical looking caterpillar is a pre-pupal Spicebush Swallowtail Caterpillar.  The orange color indicates it is pre-pupal, and just prior to pupation, the normally green caterpillars often turn orange when they leave the trees they have been feeding upon to search for an appropriate site to commence metamorphosis.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.  Interestingly, we have many more images on our site of the caterpillars than we do of the beautiful black adult Spicebush Swallowtails with their distinctive green spots.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Caterpillar?
Geographic location of the bug:  Anaheim, CA
Date: 09/09/2017
Time: 09:33 PM EDT
Three of these on my lime tree.
How you want your letter signed:  Nuck

Orange Dog

Dear Nuck,
This is an Orange Dog, the caterpillar of a Giant Swallowtail, a butterfly native to the southeastern states of North America.  The cultivation of citrus trees in Florida provided a host plant that the caterpillars will eat, and the Giant Swallowtail expanded its range to follow citrus cultivation, eventually reaching Southern California in the late 1990s.  It is now well established in California.  You may lose some leaves, but that is a small price to pay for the joy of seeing the magnificent Giant Swallowtails gliding gracefully around your yard.

Orange Dog

Thanks.  I love seeing the swallowtail.  Exciting. Do the caterpillars have a predator?

While they don’t have a specific predator, we imagine they can become prey to birds, which is why they have evolved to resemble bird droppings as a form of protective mimicry.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Swallowtail?
Geographic location of the bug:  North Central Washington (Brewster)
Date: 09/01/2017
Time: 12:17 AM EDT
We have found a caterpillar which is new to us! It was apparently in a hurry to pupate, as soon as we housed it, it went to work. I think Mom is having the most fun here! 🙂
We are in the north central (Brewster) part of Washington State. This is a darker bluish green caterpillar with white and black eye spots and white and black collar. It turned to brown very soon after we found and housed it.
How you want your letter signed:  Elizabeth Brown

Western Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Elizabeth,
We believe this is a Western Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar, but we would not rule out that it might be a related species like a Two Tailed Swallowtail Caterpillar.

Pre-pupal Western Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bright red caterpillar
Location: Southern Arizona ( Santa Cruz county)
August 25, 2017 7:58 pm
I have been noticing these bright red caterpillars during my evening walks.
They are on a plant that I have not found on our property, so that may be their host plant
Do you know what is caterpillar is ?
Signature: Len Nowak ( Salero Ranch )

Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Len,
This is a Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar, and according to BugGuide:  “Larvae feed on
Aristolochia species. These include ‘Pipevine’ or ‘Dutchman’s Pipe’, Aristolochia species (tomentosa, durior, reticulata, californica), as well as Virginia Snakeroot, Aristolochia serpentaria. Larvae presumably take up toxic secondary compounds (including Aristolochic acid) from their hostplant. Both larvae and adults are believed toxic to vertebrate predators, and both have aposematic (warning) coloration.”  The adult Pipevine Swallowtail is sometimes called a Blue Swallowtail and it is a gorgeous butterfly.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  False-eyed caterpillar in San Diego County, California
Geographic location of the bug:  Oceanside, San Diego County, California
August 25, 2017  4:27 PM
Hi! I found this little critter outside my front door after I was away for a while. (There’s a large tree beyond the sidewalk, so it could’ve easily fallen there.) It didn’t want to move, so I had plenty of time to get a good shot.
It had green/grayish skin. It seemed that it was trying to change its skin color to match the pavement below it. I left and came back to find no trace of it. I wonder if a bird spotted it…
Anyway, what kind of caterpillar is this? I haven’t seen it before and it has false eyes that extend further inward than the ones I’ve seen pictured on this site. I’m on USA’s west coast, in Southern California. (We also have green jewel-scarab beetles that fly around in the daytime here. Not sure if that helps.)
Signature:  Lightwulf

Western Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Lightwulf,
Based on your location, we are leaning towards this being a Western Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar, because of this BugGuide image.  BugGuide states:  “Larvae very similar to those of Pale Tiger Swallowtail, but black pupil of false eye-spot larger, and yellow spot inside eyespot entirely separated from it, not just notched.”  BugGuide also states:  “Larvae feed on foliage of deciduous trees, including cottonwood, birch, elms, willow, alder, sycamore, and aspen.”  When it was still feeding, this Western Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar was green, but as the time for transformation into a chrysalis approached, it darkened to the brown color your images depict, though some individuals turn orange.  Caterpillars often travel away from the food source to find an appropriate place to undergo metamorphosis.  The similar looking Two Tailed Swallowtail Caterpillar is another possibility for your critter’s identity.

Western Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Catapillar ?
Location: Montclair, NJ 07042
August 16, 2017 2:52 pm
Hello Bugman 🙂
I saw this lil critter on the sidewalk in Montclair, NJ . Can you tell me what kind of bug it is ? Thank you !
Signature: Angela- I❤️Bugs

Prepupal Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar

Dear Angela,
The last time we posted an image of a prepupal Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar, the posting got 37 Facebook “likes” and we hope your posting can beat that.  When they are still growing and feeding, Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillars are green to blend in with the leaves.  When pupation time approaches, many individuals turn brown or orange.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination