The citrus caterpillar …

When is a pest not a pest?  Well, when it’s as weird and colourful as a citrus caterpillar. I found this one sunning itself on my Kaffir Lime tree.

Apparently it grows into one of our largest and most beautiful garden butterflies, the Orchard Swallowtail.

Photo by Aviceda
Photo by Aviceda

When threatened it rears up and pops out a defensive organ called an osmeterium which exudes a strong citrus smell.  This one obviously didn’t feel too threatened by my poking, as it didn’t extend it the whole way.

Gardening blogs advise that you immediately beat this creature to death before it consumes your citrus tree, but as I can only find one, and I have a suspicion it would make the most horrible squishy mess.  I’m just going to wait and watch …

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