Another stroll through my little back garden has revealed more aliens (you can find the previous aliens here). These aliens are masquerading as caterpillars!
I have a lime tree, I’ve had it for about 10 years maybe? I had it in a pot when I was renting a little house and moved it to my new home when I bought it 8 years ago. I planted it in the ground and it thrived!
A few years later, I was having some massive palm trees removed and one fell on my glorious lime tree and sliced it down the centre. The guy doing the job tackled the tree and held the stem together while my Dad ran to get strips of a towel to tie around it and hold it together. It survived and continued to thrive. I had so many lime for my G&Ts, it was brilliant.
Then, I got some landscaping done and my landscape gardener guy told me that the lime tree wasn’t in a aesthetically pleasing spot. We transplanted it and it unceremoniously died. I haven’t had the heart to remove it and some little suckers have grown up but they won’t ever fruit.
I was out in the garden with Gidget today and wandered over to the lime tree to see if anything had changed and I found this tiny little caterpillar, so I started shooting it. As I was manoeuvring around to find a better angle, I noticed these whopping big green caterpillars – the mummy and daddy!
Notice the red horns protruding out in some of the photos? These popped out when I shook the stem accidentally while moving it out of the way to get a better shot. The protrusions were accompanied by a sharp scent of citrus – the defence mechanism of the little guys to scare away predators. I was able to get a few shots of the protrusions (called osmeterium) as they retracted back inside.
These caterpillars are the larvae of the Orchid Swallowtail Butterfly, commonly called the Large Citrus Butterfly, found in Eastern Australia and Papua new Guinea and sometimes considered a pest. I am fascinated by these caterpillars and check on them each day if I can. I hope to catch them when they form their chrysalis and then emerge (apparently in 1 – 6 months!!!).
Some information for Lucile’s Photo101 Rehab Clinic patients: I used my Olympus OMD EM5, you can probably guess that I used my trusty 60mm (90mm equivalent) macro lens. I was handheld in the garden bed, having a great old time! There were 19 photos of these guys that I originally uploaded, so i had to cut them down a little to just these few.