Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Update of my Black Swallowtails

In this post I will show pictures of what happened to each of the four Black Swallowtail caterpillars I raised in my pavilion. Some pictures are from past blog posts. I will also show pictures of the other Black Swallowtail caterpillars I found outside in my garden.

caterpillar 1 caterpillar 1-1

This was my very first Black Swallowtail that I raised. I kept it protected inside my pavilion but sadly it died while forming a chrysalis.

caterpillar 2 in chrysalis IMG_0598

My second caterpillar came out in about a week. But I was disappointed again to find the butterfly deformed and unable to move. In the wild this butterfly would of quickly become a meal for a hungry creature.


Caterpillar 3 and 4 both made brown chrysalises. I have been waiting more than three weeks for these butterflies to emerge. From my studies I have learned that when a Black Swallowtail makes a brown chrysalis it will usually stay in the chrysalis through the winter. They will emerge as butterflies probably next year in spring.

Out in my Garden Box


Outside in my garden box I found several Black Swallowtail caterpillars eating my parsley. Thankfully the plant will grow back for my next caterpillar visitors.

I had a Black Swallowtail butterfly lay at least a hundred eggs on this one parsley plant. Because of all the wasps only a few caterpillars survived to be butterflies. I have found five Black Swallowtail chrysalises out in my garden box and all of them emerged as healthy butterflies. In nature only the healthiest and quickest caterpillars can make it to be adult butterflies because of all the predators. I’ve decided to collect the Black Swallowtail chrysalises from my garden instead of raising them inside of my pavilion. ( I have had success raising Monarchs inside of my butterfly pavilion.)


Some Black Swallowtails out in my garden made chrysalises on my milkweed plants. They all made green chrysalises to blend into their surroundings.

IMG_0802 Black Swallowtail butterfly

I took two chrysalises from my garden and put them inside of my pavilion. (The other three I left outside in my garden). After waiting for almost a week my first Black Swallowtail finally emerged! We were all very excited. I think this one is a male Black Swallowtail.

IMG_0804black swallowtail eyes

If you look closely you can see two orange spots that look like eyes. These eye like spots our used to scare off predators. When I was taking pictures of this butterfly It thought I was a predator so it started flapping it’s wings at me.

male black swallowtail

This is the next Black Swallowtail that emerged. This one I also took from my garden when it was a chrysalis. It Is a male Black Swallowtail.


This butterfly emerged out in my garden. It was well hidden in my water hyssop plant. Look how much blue it has on its wings. This is a female Black Swallowtail.


This butterfly will soon emerge. You can now its wings showing through the chrysalis.


This is the last chrysalis I found in my garden. It was hiding in my Oregano plant.

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