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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Don't know if it was a larvae.

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The bug/insect
The bug/insect  

Bug/insect
Bug/insect  
Today (July 31 2013) at about 5:00 in the evening I spotted what looked to be a caterpillar crawling under my truck. It was dark green with a yellow and black stripe near its head with two light green dots with black centres on either side of its head. I'm not sure if it is a caterpillar or a larvae but it was a about a inch long, soft almost squishy and it had a very soft light fuzz on its body. What shocked me was that it had a tongue which it stuck out a few times. I live in Saskatoon SK where I found the bug/insect. I didn't keep it but I do have a few pictures of it.

Answer
Raylene:

The insect in the images is indeed a caterpillar, that of a swallowtail butterfly of some kind.  I'm not familiar with the species that far north, sorry.

The "tongue" is actually a gland that the caterpillar protrudes when it feels threatened.  The gland emits a pretty strong, repulsive odor from what I'm told.

When you find caterpillars off of their host plant, it usually means they are looking for a place to pupate (become a chrysalis, the next stage in the life cycle).

Thanks for sharing your observation and experience!

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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