Ask a Question forum: Caterpillars

Views: 169, Replies: 9 » Jump to the end

Rachelle
Oct 2, 2016 12:11 AM CST
Hi I'm just wondering if the caterpillar I found on my lemon tree is poisonous and also what type it is, it's a beautiful red colour but I have never seen one like it and neither have any of my friends that I have shown the pic too. Please help me answer my question.

Thank you

Kind regards, Rachelle
Thumb of 2016-10-02/Rachelle/72470e
Thumb of 2016-10-02/Rachelle/f75dd5

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Oct 2, 2016 6:23 AM CST
Welcome! Rachelle. Could you tell us roughly where you are, because not all insects occur in all places and it would help narrow it down, unless someone recognizes it. I just went through a book of caterpillars of eastern North America in case you are in Florida but didn't find anything that looked like it in there.
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 8b)
Image
kittriana
Oct 2, 2016 8:02 AM CST
I need more pix, Giant Swallowtail Butterfly, caterpillar named California orangedogs, is a definite candidate. Caterpillars have several instars where they look different. Welcome!
Then there is an Orchard Swallowtail...
Could be a sphinx moth, as many of them love citrus. Have never seen these kill a tree, and the poop nourishes the tree as well.
kitt
[Last edited by kittriana - Oct 2, 2016 8:13 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1288421 (3)
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Oct 2, 2016 9:46 PM CST
Hi Rachelle and welcome. We really do need to know where you are to ID your caterpillar, so if you could fill in your personal profile (the little blue person icon in the upper right corner) with your city/state that will narrow it down a lot.

I'd call on our resident butterfly expert @mellielong to try for an ID on this guy.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Oct 2, 2016 9:48 PM CST
Wow, I don't know but I love him already! It's definitely not a Giant Swallowtail caterpillar. I don't think it's a Sphinx Moth of any kind because they usually have that "horn" on the back side. Let me look around...
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 8b)
Image
kittriana
Oct 2, 2016 9:55 PM CST
I think you will find the orange color means hes abt to change- can you find any that arent orange?
kitt
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Oct 2, 2016 10:19 PM CST
I haven't found him yet and I have to go to bed. Kat, the color does make me think of Spicebush Swallowtails and how they turn orange before they pupate. Knowing where he was found will definitely help us narrow it down.

And FYI, he doesn't look poisonous due to having no visible stinging hairs or anything like that. But I wouldn't touch him until you know for sure. Definitely see if you can find any others that might be a different color. Thumbs up
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Oct 3, 2016 6:00 AM CST
In addition to where he was found, it would also help to be better able to see the number of prolegs (Rachelle can you get a picture showing all of its legs from the side, not just the front and back ones?). I'm thinking if it had enough prolegs to be a sawfly larva (not a caterpillar) that we'd be able to see that. It does resemble some Geometridae moth caterpillars although I haven't found an exact match. (Different instars are always a problem as Kat noted).

The other thing that would also help is whether it is actually feeding on the lemon, or just hanging out there possibly on the wrong plant.
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
Image
mellielong
Oct 3, 2016 11:03 AM CST
Sue, it does look like a looper, doesn't it? And I sort of hate admitting this, but the anal prolegs on that thing sure make it look like caterpillar. There, now I've admitted how much I know about caterpillar butts. Rolling on the floor laughing
Moderator of the best forum on ATP, the Butterflies, Bees, and Birds forum!
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
Image
sooby
Oct 3, 2016 12:06 PM CST
I wondered the anal prolegs too, but when I checked it seems that sawflies can sometimes have them. Having said that, it doesn't look like it has the extra prolegs that a sawfly larva would have compared to a caterpillar. Plus the seemingly minimal number of prolegs at the back would indicate a Geometrid moth unless there are more prolegs that the angle hides from view. The latter can be variable in colour too, just to make it more difficult. If we could confirm that the number of prolegs is as they appear in the pics then we'd know we were in the right family at least.

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Ask a Question forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by dirtdorphins and is called "Dianthus 'Nyewood Cream'"