Thursday, August 30, 2007

Swallowtail Caterpillars

This evening I went outside to do some weeding; it was a beautiful, cool night and the ground was still moist from the wonderful rain shower we had last night. As I bent down to pull a weed I noticed that my parsley had been chewed. Upon closer inspection I saw two good sized caterpillars on the parsley. I had already given up on having any swallowtail caterpillars on my parsley and I had planted three of them just to attract the black swallowtail. I was so excited to see them!
This parsley plant is the smallest of the three, since there wasn't much left and the other two plants are not real close to this one, I brought them inside to make sure they had enough to eat and also to closely observe this wonderful transformation. It's been a long time since we have done this as a fun home school project, my children were five and ten years old, now they are 15 and almost 20. It brings back many sweet memories.
These are the first instar black swallowtail larva and I didn't notice the other critter in the middle until I saw it on the computer screen. I don't know what it is but I hope it isn't going to eat my caterpillars.
Isn't it amazing that these odd looking caterpillars are going to turn into a beautiful black swallowtail butterfly.


Connie said...

How're never too old to do 'science project'. That is beautiful butterfly, indeed!

Kylee said...

YAY!!! I know just how you're feeling, Robin! It's exciting to see the various stages a butterfly goes through.

My mom just found a chrysalis this morning, hanging from kale in the Children's Garden. I'm going up later to see it, too.

Mme. Wells- La prof de fran├žais said...

I too just did some weeding and found one amid my herb garden. On my fennel. It even smells like fennel. My son is very excited to learn more about this creature. I can't wait to see if it turns into a cocoon.