I think the true gardener is a lover of his flowers, not a critic of them.
I think the true gardener is the reverent servant of Nature, not her truculent, wife-beating master.
I think the true gardener, the older he grows, should more and more develop a humble, grateful and uncertain spirit.
Reginald Farrer, In a Yorkshire Garden, 1909

Saturday, March 17, 2012

White-striped green caterpillar

Can you find the caterpillar?
This is a beautiful caterpillar. I have seen tiny hairy caterpillars but this is the first time I saw one as beautiful as this. With its green and white-striped color, it camouflaged itself extremely well on one of my plants. It should be around 2.5 inch to 3 inch long. But how did it get that big? It should have been around for some time and while I keep a close eye on my plants, I wonder how I could have missed it.

flexible neck

Excited, I went close to it and touched the body with my fingers. Suddenly, the Y-shaped tongue came out (see pic). The stronger I touched, the more bent the body and the longer the tongue. Intrigued, I ran back inside to take my camera to take a couple of shots. If you look closely, it has eyes too... well fake eyes that is. Mainly to scare predators away.

Y-shaped tongue
As I couldn't afford to have it chew my leaves, I decided to remove it from the plant. That's when I realized it has a very good grip on the leave, so even if it rains or when there is strong wind, it won't fall off easily. I left it in my car porch area while deciding what to do with it. I thought I could take it and leave it on some shrubs somewhere but unfortunately the next morning it was gone.


  1. Hi Ben, thanks for visiting my site i was directed here. However, i can't open your profile to see which country you are from. It looks like a lot is secret, LOL. That structure on the larvae is not a toungue, it is called osmeterium, which comes out when it is threatened. Maybe it is one of the swallowtail butterflies, which normally is hosted by citrus species like yours.

    1. Hi Andrea. Thank you for your kind msg and for joining this site. Don't know why you can't open my profile but I'm from Malaysia, blogging from a hot tropical country :)
      Thanks for correcting me on the osmeterium. Found out that it emits a foul smell. I wonder how smelly it is. Swallowtails are a common species here but some can be really striking and beautiful.

  2. I am not good at identifying many caterpillars. I do love them, though, and have learned to live with chewed on leaves.

    1. Sometimes it can be quite frustrating to see the leaves get chewed up especially by grasshoppers. But that's perhaps something I need to learn to live with over time.


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