This summer continues to be one of surprises. I’ve seen species of swallowtail butterfly that I can’t remember ever having seen (in the last 20 years). I caught a Chequered Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus) a few weeks ago and have found a late instar larva.
More recently we’ve had Dainty Swallowtails (Papilio anactus) and Orchard Swallowtails (P. aegeus) visiting our garden. We now have numerous Dainty and Orchard larvae on orange, mandarin, lemon and grapefruit trees. I haven’t seen the adult Orchard Swallowtails yet – but I’m hoping to get lucky soon.
This tiny caterpillar is only several days old, but already has characteristic Dainty Swallowtail markings.
After several weeks of growth this Dainty Swallowtail caterpillar is preparing to pupate on the main stem of this citrus tree.
Though I haven’t seen the adults, I know Orchard Swallowtails occur here, as several of our citrus are being devoured by their caterpillars.
This young larva is everting its osmeterium, to produce a pungent smell and perhaps discourage me from eating it!
The caterpillars above still have their bird-dropping appearance and are very spiny
This is an advanced Orchard Swallowtail caterpillar (right) that’s taken itself to a central branch where it may begin its pupation phase – I’ll keep an eye on it.