Re: caterpillar

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Ah, I just realized the link I sent didn't even have a picture. I 
figured there is only one bird poop caterpillar but I guess not. Here is 
the first one I suggested (Giant Swallowtail):

But apparently the Western Tiger Swallowtail also has a bird poop 
caterpillar and it feeds on Alder:
"The caterpillar has two distinct forms at different stages. While the 
young caterpillar is brown and white, resembling bird droppings (an 
ingenious protection against being eaten by birds!) - the mature 
caterpillar, growing to about 2 inches, is green with a swollen front 
end, large eyespots on the head, and a black and white band between the 
3rd and 4th segments. Using silk, the caterpillar curls leaves over its 
body and rests and feeds under a protective canopy."

I couldn't find any caterpillar pictures for this species.

Arlene Mikelsons wrote:

> The particular caterpillars I am finding now are quite abundant on 
> young alders or maybe even on old alders but too high for me to see.  
> At any rate, they are whitish and look almost powdery.   The biggest I 
> have seen is about 1/2 inch long.   I am keeping a couple to see if I 
> can maintain them until they become whatever they will become.    If I 
> can get some time from the demands of the veggy garden, blackberry 
> picking and making boat covers for my husband, I will attempt to get a 
> good photograph.
> Thanks again for the information.
> Arlene M.

Paul Furman wrote:

> from the pnw-spineless bug list...
> 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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