Thursday, June 11, 2009

A growing black swallowtail caterpillar

Here are some updates of my black swallowtail caterpillar. It has changed a lot since my last post.

black swallowtail caterpillar day 6 


Black Swallowtail caterpillar 1 week old

After shedding its skin it went from black, to white with black stripes.

Black Swallowtail 8 days old

black swallowtail 9 days old

Joshua wanted to hold the caterpillar so I tried to take it of it's food plant. That was a bad idea. It got angry with me and quickly revealed its orange osmeterium from its head. I have never smelled a smell like it! It was like a skunk spray, but with a unique smell. Joshua was able to hold the caterpillar, but he learned not to make it mad!

black swallowtail smiling face

On the rear end of black swallowtail caterpillars you can see a strange pattern that looks like a face! They use this pattern to scare off predators.


Out in my garden box a black swallowtail butterfly has been busy laying eggs on my parsley. I counted about 75 caterpillars! It was very hard to count them since there were so many. Here is a picture of one leaf covered in caterpillars. The small black creatures are the caterpillars. If those caterpillars use their smelly osmeterium on predators I will end up with a lot of caterpillars on one food plant.

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