Florida caterpillars on lemon tree

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Florida Giant Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar the Orange Dog on Lemon tree
W. Frame took this excellent photograph of a Giant Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar on a lemon tree in Florida

This Giant Swallowtail (Papilio crespontes) butterfly caterpillar, also known as the Orange Dog, was feeding on a Lemon Tree in Bell, Florida.

In the United States and many other countries worldwide the caterpillars of several species of Swallowtail butterfly feed on the leaves of lemon trees as well as other species of citrus trees, Rutaceae.

The caterpillars resemble bird droppings to avoid detection. Should this fail to disguise them then predators are deterred by the threatened caterpillar extending a red, forked tongue like projection, the Osmeterium, which appears very snake like.

See more butterfly caterpillars of North America.

California Giant Swallowtail caterpillar known as Orange Dog
Head of Giant Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar with Osmeterium withdrawn photo Jose Ceja in California, US

If you have good photos of butterflies, moths or caterpillars of North America and wish to share them with others on this site then please email – see identification enquiries.

Good images may be added to galleries, latest sightings and species pages with accreditation. Copyright remains with the photographer. All images submitted and shared will hopefully go towards helping raise awareness and understanding of these precious insects. Thank you, Steve.