Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bird Droppings? Look closer.....

So something is eating your citrus bushes and you don't know what it is....you think it's a bird because there are a lot of droppings on the leaves.....

But at closer inspection you discover it's one of the ugliest catepillars alive.

Thanks to the macro feature on my camera I can get close ups like this!! Seriously they are ugly.  Here are recommendations from people about these catepillars.  Caution...don't be quick to pick them off...as you'll see what the end result is in a few moments....
1.  If they are on older larger citrus bushes, don't do anything. 
2.  If they are on younger bushes, they will eat all your leaves....but generally the leaves always grow back. However, some gardeners recommend picking them off.

The little "tongue's" that stick out emit an odor to keep predators away....so this guy didn't like me so much.  The official scientific word is the "osmeterium"....
So the final result?  This pic below was not taken by me but here is what the end result is....but I will get some shots down the road:)

The Swallowtail!!

It is catepillar month in Tucson and butterflies are all over the place.  Keep your eyes on the look out for these guys!  Happy gardening!


  1. Isn't nature amazing when such an ugly caterpillar can turn into such a beautiful butterfly. I'm not sure if we have that type over here - I'll have to find out.

    Yes, it's Spring time in my part of the world. It began on 1st September. Everything is bursting into flower or leaf, even things one thought had 'gone to God'. It's a wonderful time of year. Do the seasons change very much where you are? My first thought is that they go from warm to hot, but never get very cold. Perhaps I am wrong though. I will have to read more of your blog and I may find out.

  2. Oh it gets cold here, but you are right about the season....it warm or hot....but our evening get pretty cold during the winter and plants lose leaves etc.....but I don't think it's like your seasons:) I miss those the most....just don't like the cloudy skies.

  3. how did you get those pictures? Amazing. And the butterfly is a beauty! Oh not when it's a caterpillar he he...

  4. I've had the same caterpillars on my Meyor Lemon. They stink!!

  5. I used to pick them off but now I leave them alone. The citrus lime is a very strong plant. The leaves will grow back even if the caterpillar has gobbled up almost all the leaves. A butterfly can pollinate many flowers and I can replace my plant.

  6. Stephanie.....it's the super macro feature on some of the cameras....it allows to shove a camera right into your subject.....it works for some things and more difficult for the quick and fast ones:)

  7. I have loads of these. How did you get the cat to stick out the tongue? Last time, I used a small stick but I wasn't quick enough to capture it with the tongue out.

  8. Here's what happened.....I don't know:) I just snapped away...and when I look at the pics, I saw that tongue thingy and researched it because it scared me:) I'm don't like big creepy crawly things.

  9. The tongue are like fangs. It's supposed to ward off predators. I've seen bright red fangs on green caterpillars. Actually I thought it's beautiful. I wish I can show it to you but what I have is just the caterpillar without the fangs. Nevertheless I thought you should see it...if you don't mind. I think I must be out of mind to request others to see my bugs. Forgive me :) http://onenezz.blogspot.com/2009/10/intersting-bugs.html

  10. Hi One....I love looking at your pics:)

  11. I have read on other blogs or the web that caterpillars chew. The damage is mostly aesthetic, much different from sucking/vectors to vegetation.

    Even leaves mostly eaten, can still photosinthesize which the name of the game.

    Plumerias have their own beautiful green/black stripped caterpillars. They transform into huge, scary at night, nice looking grey/bluish moths.

    I do not kill them since their nice pelleted poop is mostly nitrogen. On the other hand it is just a cycle. When they eat the leaves, the RUST, also disappears, a ugly aesthetic issue.

    These caterpillars algo eat Allamanda cathartica leaves...

    Most gardeners avoid the issue of insects for ignorance, or being afraid that others may perceive them as such.

    When pictures are shared other gardeners also learn, if they have the interest and ability to research, beyond the cute or ugly fact.

    Thanks for an excellent post.


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