Orange Dogs

Subject: Orange Dog Caterpillar?
Location: Southern Orange County, CA
July 23, 2016 10:56 am
I found two caterpillars on my navel orange tree on July 22, 2016. Are these Giant Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillars?
Signature: Julie Macy

Orange Dogs
Orange Dogs

Dear Julie,
You are absolutely correct.  These are Orange Dogs, the caterpillars of Giant Swallowtails.  Interestingly, though they are native to North America, Giant Swallowtails were first reported in Southern California in the 1990s.  Their range expanded as citrus cultivation moved across the country.  Even though citrus is not native to North America, once cultivation of oranges and other citrus fruits gained popularity in the southeast, the native Giant Swallowtails adapted to them as a host plant.

Thank you!  I found another yesterday.  I’ve never seen them before.  It will be fun to watch them as they change.

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