Subject: caterpillar on orange trees
Location: Gulf Breeze, FL
October 15, 2012 7:59 pm
I search all over the internet for this caterpillar that is eating up a young orange I have. Can you tell me what kind of caterpillar this is and what the life cycle is.
Signature: Dot Desrosiers

Orange Dog

Dear Dot,
This is the caterpillar of a Giant Swallowtail, and it is sometimes called an Orange Dog because of its preferred food plant.  The few leaves that you lose to the caterpillars feeding should be well balanced by the beauty that the adult Giant Swallowtail brings to your garden.  Orange Dogs mimic bird droppings as a means of camouflage.

Thank you for your quick response.  How log before they turn into a cocoon and then a butter fly.  I can’t wait to see them.
Thank you,
Dot Desrosiers

Hi Dot,
Here is a nice web page devoted to raising Swallowtails in captivity called Great Stems.  We are tying to find more specific details on the time spent in the chrysalis for the Giant Swallowtail, and this comment is made regarding the Two Tailed Swallowtail:  “The Two-Tailed Swallowtail can take many months before it emerges from its chrysalis.”  J.J. Cardinal’s Wild Bird and Nature Store provides this information:  “Your giant swallowtail will hatch from its chrysalis in 18 to 20 days. Release it within the second day.”  With eclosion or emergence of an adult butterfly or moth, much depends upon weather and temperature conditions.  If conditions are not favorable, then the insect will remain in the pupal stage for longer periods of time.

You’re great!  Great resources for information on my Orange Dogs.  Have a great day!
Thank you so much.
Dot Desrosiers

Location: Florida

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