Someone asked about the 'Bird Dropping Caterpillar' http://www.desertmuseum.org/books/nhsd_butterflies.html "Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes, also called Heraclides cresphantes), ), a brown and yellow species commonly encountered in urban areas. Its larvae, which feed mostly on the leaves of citrus, look much like fresh bird droppings. If the larvae are touched or disturbed, an unpleasant-smelling, y-shaped orange organ called an osmeterium, is everted from just behind the head. This device and the cryptic appearance are adaptations to avoid predators and perhaps parasites." I've noticed this same osmeterium thing on our pipevine Swallowtails when they are poked: <http://www.edgehill.net/2003-08-09-pipevine-caterpillar> -- Paul Furman http://www.edgehill.net san francisco native plants (415) 722-6037
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