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Giant Swallowtail Caterpillar Papilio cresphontes


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Giant Swallowtail caterpillar
credit: Ianare Sevi/CCSA

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Family: Papilionidae, Swallowtails view all from this family

Description Caterpillar

The mature caterpillar resembles bird droppings to deter predators, and if that doesn't work they use their red osmeterium.These are 'horns' which they can display and then retract. The coloration is dingy brown and or olive with white patches and small patches of purple. Citrus fruit farmers often call the caterpillars orange dogs or orange puppies because of the devastation they can cause on their crops.

Dimensions Mature caterpillar, 2 1/8-2 3/8" (54-60 mm).

Habitat Forests & woodlands, Freshwater swamps, marshes & bogs, Cities, suburbs & towns, Meadows & fields.

Range Rocky Mountains, Great Lakes, Plains, Southwest, Texas, Florida, Eastern Canada, Mid-Atlantic, New England, California, Western Canada.