Bird Dropping Caterpillar

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Someone asked about the 'Bird Dropping Caterpillar'
"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:


Paul Furman
san francisco native plants
(415) 722-6037

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