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