07 September 2016

Finally, a Black Swallowtail caterpillar

This summer I seeded my plot in our local community garden with an abundance of food plants for Black Swallowtail butterflies, but my plans for raising a bunch of them were foiled by some freakish weather.  I thought this year would be a total loss in regard to Black Swallowtails.

Imagine my surprise a couple days ago when I went to the mailbox and saw this colorful fellow resting on a twig.  He/she had apparently wandered away from the clump of rue (another BST foodplant) we have planted by the mailbox.

I brought him in to a container on our screen porch, provided some rue and carrot tops, and then after two days of eating and producing frass, I found him like this this morning:

The caterpillar ignored the twigs I placed in the container and chose instead to create its mat of silk on the wall, and has suspended itself via a silken harness (which wraps behind the nonexistent "shoulders" of the cat).  The next step will be to convert that caterpillar body into a brownish pupa.

Addendum:  The chrysalis was fully formed by September 11 -

As of October 6 there have been no external apparent changes; looks like this butterfly is going to overwinter in the chrysalis.


  1. on the glass means that you can photograph it from all sides!

    p.s. daily updates, okay?


  2. Beautiful creature at this stage. What great color.


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