Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Magnificent Metamorphosis



For several years now I've planted parsley for the sole purpose of attracting the black swallowtail butterfly to my gardens. This year I added fennel which they seemed to prefer over the parsley.

I think the birds must be eating the caterpillars because I see them for a couple of days and then they are gone. It is alarming to me the odds these creatures face. I guess that is part of the reason I am in awe whenever I see a butterfly in my garden.

Each year I bring a few into the house to watch this amazing metamorphosis up close.

I was beginning to wonder if these two were going to emerge this summer.

It is so fascinating to me that the chrysalis can be different colors.

After they emerge from the chrysalis, I remove them from the container, get a few pictures, and let them go. Amazing!

28 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

You certainly do them justice with your pictures Robin. I think you are right about the birds eating them. They don't last long on the fennel in my garden either.

Diana said...

Robin -- Wow. I shared the wonderful photos of the transformation with my 5-year old and we were both in awe. Especially that you are holding that last butterfly in your hand. Amazing!

Robin Wedewer said...

The black swallowtails also love dill. I plant some for them and some for me...

Robin Wedewer

shirl said...

Fantastic Robin - I am thrilled for you :-D

Thanks for sharing this story and your wonderful images. What a great idea to take some indoors to see this process happen! I can see why you do this it is a truely stunning butterfly :-D

Debbie said...

Robin, your photos are terrific. Are you enjoying your new camera?

It is amazing that any caterpillers survive. There seems to be so many predators out there.

I have been adding flowers each year, but mainly for the butterlies. I think I'll add a few plants for the caterpillers next year.

Defining Your Home said...

Fabulous photos! I love our BST cats. I think they're cute! :-)

Balisha said...

What a beauty....Your pictures are fantastic.

Patricia said...

Stunning photos, Robin. I've had similar thoughts about the dragonflies here on Pollywog Creek. They face such odds to make it out of the pond alive and then perch on the fence just long enough for a loggerhead shrike or crested flycatcher to swoop down and make a meal of them.

Roses and stuff said...

Absolutely! It's an amazing butterfly - and amazing photos!
/Katarina

beckie said...

What a great idea to bring some in and watch them transform. The miricles of nature never cease to amaze. Your pictures are stunning! And of course the butterfly is abosolutely beautiful.

Jayne said...

Wow, so very beautiful Robin! Thanks for sharing their journey with us.

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

AMAZING!!! Robin, I've given you a little award so please stop by my blog to pick it up. This is my favorite post to date, btw!!

perennialgardener said...

Wow what beautiful photos you took of this winged wonders! What a great post Robin, thanks for sharing. Thanks for stopping by today & wishing me a belated happy birthday too. :)

Gail said...

Robin, Are you getting tired of me saying this? I love your photos. They are stunning! Would you post about what it entails to bring caterpillar or chrysalis inside?

Gail

Rose said...

This is truly one of the miracles of nature. Such beautiful creatures--I am glad you were able to save a few from the birds.

earlysnowdrop said...

Really stunning. Lucky you!

Anonymous said...

Nice photos.

The praying mantis are very hard on the caterpillars for me. I had six sulphur caterpillars on my partridge pea. Two days later, none, but two praying mantis.

Jendi said...

I agree that is so amazing!
Great photos too!

Anna said...

You make the butterfly world proud. Your pictures show those powdery blue accents so nicely. The detail leaves us in wonder at something so amazing.

our friend Ben said...

Beautiful, Robin! Thanks so much for sharing the wonder with us!!!

Kim said...

GREAT photos, Robin, especially the last one! The number of caterpillars I see each year varies, but I make sure to plant extra parsley and dill for the BSTs. I put the parsley in my kitchen garden, but I also sow it in my perennial border, and interestingly enough, I see more caterpillars there.

Barbarapc said...

Robin - just lovely. Met a woman at a garden centre who had planted flowers for butterflies, and she was now looking for something that would kill those dreadful caterpillars...."stupid bugs are all over the place eating everything." Too bad your blog wasn't available years ago - I could have given her the link.

garden girl said...

Gorgeous photos Robin. When I was a kid I used to bring them inside to watch the metamorphosis. It's such a fascinating process.

That's a beautiful swallowtail. They're so gorgeous when they first 'hatch.' Their colors are so beautiful and their wings are so perfect-looking. I've been seeing some pretty tattered-looking ones around here lately. Sometimes I wonder how they can even fly when their wings have big chunks out of them or their 'tails' are missing.

Q said...

Dear Robin,
I agree, the Black Swallowtails seem to like the fennel in my garden too for laying their eggs.
Your pictures are beautiful.
I also love the butterflies and bees...
Sherry

CIELO said...

Good morning "paradise" lady... :) I got something for you on my blog--come get it!

Love your blog!

cielo

Mother Nature's Garden said...

Fab photos! You can't get a more pristine shot than right after emerging from the chrysalis.

Pat Kashtock said...

Robin -- the picture of you holding the butterfly is just beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes.

Ewa said...

Robin, what a wonderful experience is this! I am amazed on Sunday morning :) Thank you for sharing this experience.
Ewa