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.