08.06.2015 Giving it up for future butterflies

Mary Beth noticed these on her potted parsley plants while hanging the laundry the other day.  Two instars (metamorphic stages) of Black Swallowtail caterpillars- Papilio polyxenes.

Black-Swallowtail-Caterpillar-080415-600WebThey are eating pretty voraciously so I purchased four more plants and stuck them into the planter.  It didn’t take them long to find the new plants.  Hopefully a few might make it to adulthood.

About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Animal Behavior, Closeup Photography, Insect Behavior, Nature Photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to 08.06.2015 Giving it up for future butterflies

  1. shoreacres says:

    Is the third one a black swallowtail, too? I looked at some photos, but couldn’t quite decide. It tickles me that you went out and bought them a little more dinner. It’s hard to keep the fridge stocked for growing kids.

    I found this page that suggests your pair are in the first instar phase. It’s really interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, they are all black swallowtails, Linda. There are nine larvae and so far only one plant is totally de-leafed. 🙂
      Four are in the third instar phase and four in the second…only one remains in the first.. I am pretty excited that there are so many and that they seem to be doing well. I am thinking of building a small cage to protect them from whoever may want a larval snack.


  2. Lyle Krahn says:

    This is like a scene out it’s a bug’s life! I hope they appreciate your efforts.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lottie Nevin says:

    What beauties! Let’s hope that you are graced with the butterflies too; that would be very special.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Andrew says:

    Well done you, Steve. I guess its no different from buying bird food. Lets hope for the adults to fly safely.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Beautiful Steve. Black Swallowtails also host on Rue, dill and fennel. Mine mostly preferred dill and fennel but come to think if it- I had a huge mass of parsley one year but it was never touched. They’ve been on the Rue a few times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Yvonne. I hope there is more to come. I guess it just depends on where mom lays her eggs. Since this is my first encounter with them I have to look forward to more on other plants at another time.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The word insect means ‘in sect[ions],’ something that’s clear in these larvae.


  7. It is amazing to see 3 larva so close together. How are they doing? In my garden they sometimes come to the Queen Anne’s Lace I let grow for them. I haven’t seen them for awhile though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are nine all within a few inches of each other although on different plants, Melissa. So far, so good. I don’t think I’ve lost any yet, but that could happen at any time unless I build some sort of shelter.

      Liked by 1 person

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