Friday, June 5, 2009

Black Swallowtail egg has hatched!

Black Swallowtail egg

Here is one egg we found that had just been laid when I purchased my parsley. It hasn’t hatched yet, but I found another black swallowtail egg that has hatched. I have been taking pictures each day so I can track its growth.

Black Swallowtail caterpillar day 1

When young, black swallowtail caterpillars look like bird droppings. When searching the leaves it took me a little while to realize that this was a caterpillar! The first clue I had was the tiny hole in the leaf. Second, was it moved when I tickled its back legs. I have  observed that they only eat at night when young.

Black Swallowtail Caterpiller day 2

The next day I found it in the exact same spot, but I found more chew marks on the leaf. I discovered that they will eat curled and flat leaved parsley. The curled leaved provides better hiding though.

Black Swallowtail day 3

You can still see the tiny hole it made when it first hatched.

Black Swallowtail caterpillar day 4 

Today I noticed small orange spikes along the caterpillars back.

Since I am raising this caterpillar inside my pavilion It will have a much greater chance of survival. I have found out how well they do when protected! I am now being more careful with how many eggs I raise in my pavilion. I am working on a post about predators and diseases that attack caterpillars. I will probably post it in a few days.

Outside in my garden box I have another parsley plant. I discovered several black swallowtail eggs on it. I shouldn’t have to worry about not having enough caterpillars!

1 comment:

  1. A most fabulous 'accidental" hobby, for me personally. Found a 4 instar swallowtail in my small parsley plant. What a beautiful lime green color!!! Took it indoors when it emerged into a cocoon. Released a beautiful female just two weeks later. Never thought two weeks later I would find (I know know what to look for now) three tiny eggs in another pot. I can now enjoy the beginning stages of these wonderful creatures. Two just hatched this morning!!