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Insect and Spider Identification: Help! Crazy caterpillar-like bug w/orange forked "tongue"

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Forum: Insect and Spider IdentificationReplies: 2, Views: 45
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Los Angeles, CA

November 26, 2012
9:34 PM

Post #9343506

Solved it with the help of FB. It's a Spicebush Swallowtail, "While the larvae are in the early stages, they are dark brown in color and thus appear to resemble bird droppings, which encourages predators to leave them alone." It's far outside its supposed area, but still appears to be correctly identified.

What is this?! Found in South Los Angeles elementary school garden on the rue plant. We poked its butt and that crazy orange forked "tongue" emerged.

This message was edited Nov 26, 2012 9:55 PM

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Minot, ND

November 27, 2012
3:30 AM

Post #9343570

This actually appears to be a larva of a giant swallowtail, Papilio cresphontes. It is known to feed on rue in addition to its favored citrus plants. -


Fort Worth, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 27, 2012
9:55 AM

Post #9343791

Agree with Flapdoodle, it is indeed a Giant Swallowtail that has been disturbed and is showing it's osmeterium, a forked gland
which secreats a stinky smell. It is a defense against preditors. Here is the beautiful adult butterfly that will emerge for the very plain looking chrysalis.

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